Today NRMLA sent out an urgent notice to all members about a major housing bill that includes important amendments to the HECM program, including establishing a single national loan limit, which is about to be brought to the Senate floor for consideration. It appears that this bill might raise the maximum FHA loan limit to $625,500 – but not for HECM. (The bill passed by the House of Representatives a few weeks ago includes a $550,000 national loan limit for HECM.)
NRMLA noted that they have been running into strong opposition to raising the HECM limit beyond $417,000 from key staffers working for Sen. Richard Shelby from Alabama, the top ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee. If the Senate bill passes with this lower amount, NRMLA cant be sure we will be able to achieve even the $550,000 limit in the House bill, once a conference is convened to reconcile the differences in the two versions of this bill.
NRMLA is asking all members of the reverse mortgage community to act today by doing the following.
Write a letter on your personal or company letterhead to each of your two U.S. Senators. You can find their addresses and fax numbers by going to www.senate.gov. Your letters should be faxed to your Senators’ offices in Washington, DC. You should also fax copies to their offices back in the state.
Here are a few things your letter could discuss:
- More and more senior homeowners are turning to FHA-insured HECMs to help them maintain their ability to continue living independently in their own homes.
- In a growing number of cases, seniors may face more debt than the amount they can borrow from a HECM based on today’s lower loan limits, so an increase is necessary.
- The HECM program should be amended to allow senior homeowners to obtain HECMs based upon the same higher loan limit that would be allowed for other FHA loans under the pending legislation.
- If you are aware of any specific cases where the higher loan limits could help protect a senior from foreclosure, please describe such instances.
- Urge your Senators to call Sen. Shelby, as well as Sen. Chris Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the committee, and tell them they want to see a $625,500 maximum loan limit for HECM included in the bill that is brought to the floor.
NRMLA also stated that letters should be individually written because they are only effective when they are done in your own words.