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NRMLA Eastern Conference to Focus on Women, Industry Change

This year’s National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association Eastern Regional Meeting and Expo will focus on the winds of change swirling around the reverse mortgage industry, from regulatory uncertainty to a growing focus on women as potential borrowers.

The event, which kicks off at the Intercontinental New York Times Square Hotel on April 3 and runs through the following day, will feature a range of speakers, including representatives from the Federal Housing Administration, American College of Financial Services professor Jamie Hopkins, and NRMLA outside counsel Jim Milano.

Steve Irwin, the Washington, D.C.-based trade group’s executive vice president, said the event is intended to help industry players navigate the changes coursing through the space in 2017, such as the growing use of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages in retirement planning and the forthcoming implementation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s final rule, which is slated to take effect in September.

“I think that fundamentally, there are new approaches that people are exploring, strategies and opportunities, and new threats out in the marketplace as we work to expand the reverse mortgage market space,” Irwin said in an interview with RMD. “We also think that there are different approaches to selling and marketing the reverse mortgage, and different planning tools and different understandings about the aging demographics in [different] states.”

In addition to panels on the details of the HECM final rule — whose eventual fate remains unclear amid the Trump administration’s general plans to halt or slow the implementation of new regulations — the event will also host speakers from the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER). Jenny Werwa, NRMLA’s director of public relations, said she was inspired to have NRMLA probe the topic of women and reverse mortgages more fully after seeing some of WISER’s leaders speak at a recent event.

“I started thinking a lot and learning a lot more about the ways that women are uniquely disadvantaged to being financially insecure in retirement,” Werwa said. “I think this a very interesting topic to explore.”

Werwa noted that reverse mortgages could be a potential solution for divorced women who have received a house in the divorce settlement but have lost their spouse’s Social Security benefits and other assets.

“It fits in very nicely with our them about reverse mortgages in a time of change,” Werwa said. “Women reaching retirement age are undergoing change, paying for caregiving and thinking about the different financial resources that [they] will have for that.”

Attendees can sign up for the conference at NRMLA’s website. The event starts at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 3 and concludes at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4.

Written by Alex Spanko