Seeking Change, Reverse Mortgage Originators Run for Office

As originators determine their overarching plans in the midst of low volume and lower principal limit factors, two reverse mortgage originators have turned their sights to politics.

Paul Dilks, a reverse mortgage specialist with Investors Home Mortgage, is running as the Republican candidate for the First Congressional District of New Jersey for the U.S. House of Representatives — and Christine Jensen, the Arvada, Colo. branch manager for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., is running as the Republican candidate for Colorado Senate District 20.

Dilks says he is running because he feels there is too much corruption in New Jersey, and top in-office goals for him would be working with the the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Authority.

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“If I get into office, they are going to see sweeping changes to FHA and sweeping changes to the reverse mortgage industry,” he says.

To help the industry in the aftermath of last year’s principal limit reductions, he says he would work to roll back the PLF changes to half of what they have become since the October 2017. For New Jersey specifically, he wants to find a way to help senior homeowners with high property taxes, adding that these bills average $8,000 per household annually in the state.

“The reverse mortgage by its original design is no longer helping the people it was intended to help originally,” he says, explaining many of the seniors who he would like to help cannot qualify without a life expectancy set aside — but cannot do a LESA because of the high property taxes.

He would also like to create a way to open up newly appreciated equity for HECM borrowers who have exhausted their loan proceeds. This would also keep more loans from being transferred back to HUD for servicing, he says.

“It would open up the continued service for the lender,” he says. “If someone is smart enough to take out a reverse mortgage at 62 and at 77 they’ve used up all their equity, let’s take into account the new value and open up new equity based upon new value.”

To help the Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund, he says he has some unique ideas. In terms of foreclosures, he says he would assist the FHA in getting foreclosed homes back on the market within six months.

“It’s crazy that a house can sit there for 7 or 8 years. The MMI Fund is decimated because of all the loss to the properties,” he says. “The longer a home sits in foreclosure, the more it costs the FHA and the more the home loses value because it becomes an eyesore to a community.”

Overall he feels his experience in the mortgage industry would be beneficial.

“I take pride in knowing what I know and I feel I could offer quite a bit,” he says.

For Christine Jensen, she says politics seems like a natural progression for her, as she wants to further serve the same senior community that benefits from reverse mortgages.

“People who work in reverse mortgage, don’t they just have a heart for helping people, for serving and doing the right thing?” she says.

Jensen has been spending time speaking with the senior community in her area and explaining to them ways she’d like to relieve their financial burden. One way is to broaden Colorado’s senior tax exemptions so that they can carry them over to new residences if they downsize or move.

Her campaign is also addressing the rising cost in health care, especially for prescription drugs.

“I think our state legislature can do more with price transparency and allow for shopping for prescriptions across state lines or over the internet to help them pinch pennies a little bit to get the prescriptions they need and not break the bank,” Jensen says.

She’s also working to stem the many tax increases that will be proposed on the next ballot.

“If you are on a fixed income, you just can’t afford those types of increases,” she says.

And when it comes to weathering political attack ads, Jensen says that no one is better equipped to do that than a reverse mortgage professional.

“When we think about the characteristics of people who are still working in reverse mortgages, these people are already dealing with adversity and negative perception,” she says. “Those are the people who are skilled at making sure people are very informed and educated.”

Written by Maggie Callahan

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  • It is good to see people running for office who have the best interests of the HECM program at heart. I hope this interest will grow whether Democratic or Republican.

    As to Christine, I have no comments since her office would have no vote or influence when it comes to HECM changes except state law in Colorado where I do not live. So I wish her the best.

    As to Paul, I am blown away but not in a good way when it comes to his suggested changes. For example, we have HECM to HECM refis already. Opening up increases in the value of the home as additional principal limit based on PLFs seems rather risky and unnecessary as to the MMIF. While it may help (or hurt) some borrowers, this adds risk without the due diligence of looking at all of the financial and property aspects covered in a Form 1009, financial assessment, and appraisal.

    I have no idea where Paul is coming up with HECMs that have been foreclosed upon sitting for 8 years which are substantially harming the MMIF. Few, if any, of those situation could currently be accounted for within the MMIF. Why?

    Eight years ago is before November 2010. So the foreclosure would have be occurred before November 2010. The earliest endorsement of a HECM accounted for by the MMIF is October 1, 2008. So the foreclosure could have only occurred in a short 25 month period. Since taxes and insurance are prepaid for at least one year at closing, no HECM endorsed after October 31, 2009 could have been foreclosed due to non-payment of taxes or insurance. Few would have been foreclosed due to not meeting the principal residence requirement. Not many could have been foreclosed due to the death of the borrower.

    So have homes which have been foreclosed and sat for 8 years be a real cause of any substantial loss in the MMIF? That is unrealistic. Even if we decrease 8 years to 7 years, again that is ridiculous.

    Making such arguments harms the image of originators. Fixing unnecessary foreclosure costs is desperately needed but the cause cited by Paul is outside the realm of any significant possibility when it comes to the MMIF.

    • George, you are right on with what you stated about Paul and his suggestions, I believe you and I are on the same page with this one!

      Good call George,

      John

  • I realize the reverse mortgage space has not been the most exiting place to be these days but resorting to politics?????

    Paul Dilks is running for the first congressional district of New Jersey for US house of representatives, I am glad he is a republican but does coming from the reverse mortgage space necessarily make him qualified?

    Paul said that If he gets into office, they are going to see sweeping changes to FHA and sweeping changes to the reverse mortgage industry! How will he do that on his own, that is the $64,000 question?

    Many people running for office say they are going to change this and change that? They may propose such changes but to get them through is another subject matter for another day!

    Paul said he would like to roll back the PLF changes to half of what they have become since the October 2017 ruling, I think that would be good, so would everyone else like to see that in our industry.

    Paul goes on to say “The reverse mortgage by its original design is no longer helping the people it was intended to help originally”! Paul is right in making that statement but the fact is, we will never be able to go back to that era!

    We had to many problems trying to help out so many that should not have been put into a HECM in the first place. In fact, in many cases we created more problems for some seniors by putting off the inevitable which was, foreclosure!!

    We all have to come to the realization that yesteryear’s way of going after the markets we used to enjoy and lived in are gone! To survive we have to change our thinking, go after new markets and change our demographics on the type borrower we seek out!

    Paul says He would also like to create a way to open up newly appreciated equity for HECM borrowers who have exhausted their loan proceeds. He goes on to say this would keep more loans from being transferred back to HUD for servicing?

    I don’t understand that one at all, if the value goes up to the point the borrowers qualify and the appreciation is as such, then they can simply refinance. There is no way to do what Paul suggests, unless you create another Pandora’s Box!

    Paul then says, he would help the Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund with some unique ideas he has In terms of foreclosure? Paul goes on to say he would assist the FHA in getting foreclosed homes back on the market within six months, HOW??

    Then Paul says,“It’s crazy that a house can sit there for 7 or 8 years. The MMI Fund is decimated because of all the loss to the properties”.

    How many homes do you know that have sat in the hands of HUD/FHA for as many as 8 years? Very, very few my friends!

    Overall Paul feels his experience in the mortgage industry would be beneficial for him to serve in the house, maybe so but not the way he spelled it out in this article!

    I am sorry to have to be so bold and I don’t mean to single Paul out in this way. However, this is the way I see it, it is my opinion only and I can be dead wrong, I am open to be corrected if someone can show me where I am wrong!

    John A. Smaldone
    http://www.hanover-financial.com

  • Bravo, Paul and Christine! Your hearts are in the right place. Politicians who care – what a concept! I don’t believe there is a reverse mortgage loan officer out here who would disagree with any of your comments. Good luck to you both.

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