Reverse Mortgage Endorsements Rise 9.9% in August

Reverse mortgage origination numbers remained low in August, but lenders still saw their second increase of the summer.

The 3,197 loans generated were enough to give the industry a 9.9% overall boost, according to the most recent set of data from Reverse Market Insight.

“That’s the third lowest total in the past 12 months, but importantly, it’s also the second month of growth since the June total of 2,838,” the Dana Point, Calif.-based analytics firm noted in its monthly report.

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Those gains were seen across the United States, with all 10 regions showing improvement — paced by the Mid-Atlantic region, with 28.2% growth over the previous month.

Among the top 10 lenders, six registered origination increases, with industry leader American Advisors Group rising from 797 to 839. Reverse Mortgage Funding, Liberty Home Equity Solutions, and HighTechLending declined despite the overall rising tide for the industry; Fairway Independent, meanwhile, saw 72 loans in both months for no change.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage numbers have been on a steady decline since a peak of 6,313 in January, as lenders cleared out the bumper crop of loans for borrowers who received case numbers prior to the implementation of lower principal limit factors on October 2. August represented the first month since May with more than 3,000 endorsements.

RMI’s “HECM Lenders” update includes only Federal Housing Administration-approved reverse mortgage lenders; a complete look at both FHA and non-FHA lenders is released separately. Among the FHA group, seven fewer lenders originated a loan in August as compared to July.

Last month, counseling data from Ibis Software Corporation showed that these monthly origination numbers could continue into the fall: In July, reverse mortgage counseling firms saw 7,198 visits, and only about half of those sessions ever result in an endorsed HECM loan.

For comparison, in the lead-up to the new rules last fall, counselors saw a peak of 17,059 prospective reverse mortgage borrowers in a single month.

Written by Alex Spanko