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MetLife Exit Presents Some Reverse Mortgage Downside, Lenders Say

While many of the remaining top-10 reverse lenders have noted the opportunity presented by the exit of MetLife from the reverse mortgage business, the industry has also noted the loss of a big brand from the business.

Generation Mortgage’s Jeff Lewis looked on the bright side of the MetLife exit in a recent statement, but made mention of the fact that the industry has lost a major supporter of reverse mortgage products.

“MetLife’s decision to discontinue their reverse mortgage operations, following on the heels of their decision to close their banking and traditional mortgage operations, is disappointing news for an industry with a bright future,” Lewis said in a statement Tuesday. “MetLife was an enthusiastic supporter of the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program and an enthusiastic promoter of the new and successful Saver product.”

Lewis expressed hope that the remaining lenders will be able to absorb as many of MetLife’s former staff as possible.

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders, too, noted the departure in a weekly email to members in the week following the decision.

“MetLife, Inc. has been a solid and generous partner of NRMLA. The company’s reverse senior executive team has assumed leadership roles and large responsibilities within the association,” NRMLA wrote. “We are extremely grateful for their contributions.”

Additionally, Generation focused on the exit’s potential impact on consumers, which, Lewis says, should not be significant.

“Consumers should understand that Met’s departure says nothing about the value of the HECM product from a consumer standpoint. Theirs was a strategic decision. The industry’s remaining producers were already doing 80%-plus of the originations and the HECM product, fixed and floating, Standard and Saver, will continue to be broadly available across the country,” he said.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker