When Reverse Mortgage Daily launched The RMD Podcast in 2019, the site did so in an attempt to provide additional context and (literal) voice to some of the biggest, most prominent issues and players in the reverse mortgage industry. The episodes that have been released thus far have had guests ranging from the most visible people in the federal government that interact with the program on a regular basis, as well as vibrant discussions concerning how to best forge solid referral partnerships for originators.
According to internal metrics, here are the most listened to episodes of the RMD Podcast as of the end of December, 2019.
Episode 5: Martin Andelman, Reverse Mortgage Trainer and Speaker at HighTechLending
Martin Andelman is outspoken about his belief in the ability of reverse mortgage products to serve as strategic tools in retirement, and is no stranger to offering loving criticism of industry practices that can hold it back from its full potential. In the podcast’s wide-ranging discussion with Martin, he speaks very frankly about an ongoing issue he sees in terms of the reputation that the reverse mortgage industry has had a hard time shaking.
“Remember how Cadillac used to be the premiere car in the United States, it was the status symbol of the 1960s and 70s,” he says. “And then, Cadillac became the car for old people. That’s what’s happened here: the industry has allowed the product to become positioned as a product for poor people, and yet I’m doing a loan right now where the total assets are $1.7 million, and another where they’re $1.4 million. It’s not that these people are rich, they just don’t have a dire need for cash. That’s all.”
This tells Andelman that there needs to be a reimagining concerning how the reverse mortgage product is positioned for those outside, and even within the industry itself.
“I don’t think the industry’s thinking about this right,” Andelman shares. “It’s trying to find people that don’t have any money, but that have a lot of equity in the house. And you have to get them at the right moment. It just seems like there’s a better way.”
Episode 1: President of RMF David Peskin
Right out of the gate with our first episode, The RMD Podcast aimed to demonstrate that it serves as a platform for industry leaders in discussing the issues that matter to the reverse mortgage industry. For our first episode, Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF) President David Peskin discussed the realities inherent in running a major reverse mortgage lender, charted his own journey into a leadership position in the industry as well as the unique perspectives that come from his experience.
When asked to offer his perspective about the biggest industry opportunities ahead, Peskin was quick to identify two key aspects of the market that could help to define its future.
“I would say that it’s the typical homeowner over the age of 62 that is carrying a mortgage balance,” he says. “[They’re] thinking about refinancing because they’re having a challenging time with their cash flow, and are either looking at trying to lower their monthly payment, or thinking of going to a bank to get that home equity line of credit, and they’re clearly not in a situation where they have to do a loan but would love to do a loan to help them.”
While they may be turned off from a reverse mortgage because of the upfront costs often associated with a HECM, additional opportunities created by the increasing prevalence of proprietary products can open the door for these people having more opportunities to participate in the marketplace, Peskin says.
“With a proprietary product and costs very similar to what a traditional loan looks like, I think you’re going to see a big turnover in the market,” he says. “I think you’ll find a lot more people looking at thinking about refinancing into a proprietary loan, just because of the flexibility of the payments, and because of the costs associated.”
Episode 2: FHA Commissioner and Acting Deputy Secretary of HUD Brian Montgomery
Having the opportunity to speak with Commissioner Montgomery about the status and potential future of the HECM program was a unique privilege for RMD, and the Commissioner was quick to relay a great deal of optimism in terms of the way that the performance of the program was shaping up in 2019 by that point, as well as providing his own perspectives on the growth of non-government products in the space.
In terms of where the health of the HECM program stood at the time of the conversation, the Commissioner was inclined to remain cautiously optimistic based on what he was seeing from his leadership position at FHA and HUD.
“The changes to the PLF, the MIP increases in some instances, coupled with the appraisal modification program appear to be having a positive effect,” Montgomery says. “That doesn’t mean we’re completely out of the woods, so to speak, but from the snapshot-in-time perspective it appears that we have about a $3 billion positive swing for the economic value of the portfolio. Again, I caution, that’s a snapshot in time, but a good one. […] Again, I’m cautiously optimistic, but it appears so far – knock on wood – that the changes made in 2017 and 2018 appear to generally be heading us in a better direction.”
On the topic of proprietary products, Commissioner Montgomery told RMD that the industry should be encouraged to further develop more options to meet the needs of seniors.
“It’s not written or ordained that the U.S. government should be 100 percent of the program,” Montgomery says. “Quite frankly, I couldn’t tell you what the exact percentage is, but it strikes me that there’s some number below 100 percent. (laughs) And I know it’s a little below that now, because there are some proprietary products available today. So, I would encourage the industry to continue to develop those. For our part, we’re going to help do what we can to ensure the long-term viability of the product.”