HUD - Congress Hack Reverse Mortgage Limits

Michael Branson (CEO ARMC)     9/23/09 10:59pm

disapointed senior

Almost two months ago we wrote about the monies being spent in the stimulus package that went to things like tunnels for turtles, guard rails for dried lakes, rehabs for airports that saw very few customers, repairs to train stations that had been closed for decades and much more, but we were appalled that Congress was considering Bills which would make our seniors carry the cost of the HUD reverse mortgage program.

We felt that if Billions and Trillions of dollars could be used for these and other projects like skate board parks, hundred million dollar court house renovations, scientific grants for laser beams and wetlands preservation, that surely Congress could find the money to help our seniors continue to utilize the HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM or ďHeck-umĒ) program to continue to stay in their homes.† Unfortunately, it looks like we were wrong!

Just yesterday a news item came out that we were going to send $36.7Billion in foreign aid to wealthy countries and countries who donít like us.† Thatís right, we can find almost $40Billion for countries who are already wealthy or would like to see us fall into the ocean, but we donít have the money to fund a program that helps our senior homeowners stay in their homes without cutting the benefit amount to those senior homeowners. Our mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers arenít as important as the money we will send to North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, Bolivia, Russia and others.

It seems that not only do we have money for all these pet projects, but we have money for healthcare reform that by all accounts may further cut benefits to seniors in the form of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. And just today HUD announced with Mortgagee Letter 2009-34 that Principal Limit Factors are being changed effective October 1, 2009 to ďassist with the viability of the programĒ.

It seems that the HECM program was never intended to operate with a credit subsidy as was explained by the Commissioner, David Stevens, in a call to the Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).† He remained open to re-engineering the mortgage insurance premiums or making other changes but indicated that there was nothing HUD could do since the program needed to operate without need of a subsidy.

According to the notice issued by the NRMLA yesterday, several of the larger reverse mortgage lenders did an analysis on the portfolios of loans they have done year to date and that 10% reduction of benefits under the program (this is the amount HUD intends to lower the benefits) would have left approximately 21% of all the borrowers with too little proceeds to pay off the existing loans on their homes. In other words, more than one fifth of all reverse mortgages done would not have been able to be closed unless the borrowers had additional cash they could bring in to closing!†

This means that all the borrowers who barely paid off their liens to keep their homes during these extremely tough financial times would be forced to move or even worse, if they were currently delinquent on their home mortgages may have been foreclosed upon if they didnít have the extra money to cover the reduced benefit amount.

We did more than two dozen loans at this company alone year to date for senior homeowners who were behind on their current mortgage due to the financial climate who would have not have been able to close and would not have been able to keep their homes under the proposed changes.† At least a dozen were currently in foreclosure and definitely would have lost their homes with these changes.

Seniors already pay a large portion of this program since the single largest fee in any reverse mortgage transaction is typically the HUD mortgage insurance at closing.† On the largest of transactions, this is over $12,500 per borrower to HUD.† Then all borrowers also pay one half of 1% for monthly mortgage insurance on their loans. I have no way of knowing what claims have been paid due to the mortgage market crash, but surely the HECM loans are no worse off than the forward or regular loans that HUD has insured through FHA.

The office of Management and Budget (OMB) came up with the numbers to determine the projected shortfall in the program and I for one do not know how they were derived and maybe would take exception with their figures.†But to make our seniors pay yet again while we cover the billions and trillions in costs for superfluous programs and projects while our seniors need our help and support is criminal!† This is just one more cut to the senior community while we spend for pet projects and for things few can justify and yes, seems we even the found the money to give Congress a raise.

I ask everyone, even if you are not a senior yourself, to contact your representative at† and tell them that you strongly urge them to find a way to fully fund the HUD HECM program and instruct HUD to revert back to the existing benefits so that our seniors do not have to foot the bill by way of reduced benefits.†

Itís amazing that HUD or Congress would even consider a change at this time when our seniors need their help more than ever and I hope that the Congress hears from a lot of concerned citizens before itís too late.† How about if we renovate one less useless airport, leave out a few guardrails for dried lakes, build one or two less skateboard parks or just send a little less money to the nations who are already wealthy or want to do us badly anyway in the name of our parents and grandparents so that they can stay in their homes?† I for one donít think thatís asking too much.†

By: Michael Branson (CEO All Reverse Mortgage Company)

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We truly believe in the positive life changes a reverse mortgage can bring to many Senior Americans, so much that our first customer was a member of our own family - Toll Free (888) 801-2762 Ext 1

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4 Comment(s)
Wayne Stensrud
9/30/09 1:44pm
Once again you hit the nail on the head! When I saw this come out yesterday I could not believe it. What happened to raising the HECM limits in order to HELP our nations seniors who are some of the hardest hit in these tough financial times? I can not even to begin to put into words how I feel right now. These seniors built our country. They fought in several wars to keep us free. They made America great! But now the leadership of this nation has once again stuck it to our seniors. This starts with our President Barack Obama and continues with the Democratically run House and Senate. I blame them.
Evelyn Gray
9/30/09 1:49pm
We need to concentrate onour own country first! The seniors have paid their due and need to be taken care of now. Maybe we should replace Congress people who don't work toward the betterment of the people who pay their salaries. Remember, they're suppose to serve "US." Not everyone else.
Vera Turner
9/30/09 1:53pm
Yes, charity begins at home. There a lot of us who could use a reverse mortgage but the limitations, and the cost is prohibitive. Not everyone can count of their family bearing the burden of caring for an elder person when they are knee deep in providing for their immediate family of wife and children. Maybe we should cut foreign aid and come to the aid of our Seniors.
Peter McDermott
9/30/09 1:54pm
I have sent email to Sen. Chuck Schumer of NY: Peter J. McDermott

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