Reverse Mortgage Industry – Current Implications

j0440988The reverse mortgage industry continues to grow nationwide. The numbers Year to Date have increased both in applications and in total endorsements (closings). But this is just a small picture of the overall industry. Over the past two years we have seen an industry get hit hard by a drop in home values, economic uncertanties, and interest rate adjustments. In addition, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who are originating reverse mortgages. Though this is good news from the standpoint that this product has become more of a standard product within the financial industry, it has impacted the total number of loans that any one individual can do. So we have a small increase in the total number of endorsements, coupled by more people doing them. This leaves many unable to close enough loans to make any kind of a marginal living. Many originators are finding business very difficult as competition has impacted the overall market.

This scenario is not surprising to me. Four years ago when I started in the industry it was an inevitable consequence to the financial condition of many of our seniors. I predicted the fact that banks and credit unions, as well as mortgage brokers would find this tool as one they need to add to their product mix. It was my attempt to make an impact in the industry at that time to position myself to be the local expert. And I have done just that!

What I did not see coming was the huge reduction in home values. At that time values were going, let me just say “bazerko” (sorry, probably not a word). Values are often much lower than the homeowners realize. Recently I had a home appraised that the homeowner was expecting $600-$700k in value. It is a phenomenal home! It was appraised at $485k. Now this is somewhat of an anomoly because of the lack of similar comparisons available, but more times than not, values are underestimated because there was a lack of understanding. The conversation of value is a critical one to have with the homeowners. Managing expectations provides open communication, and in the end, good relationships with clients (whether or not they were able to do the loan).

The other thing that was not expected was the increase in interest rate margins that we have seen with Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae, who purchases 90% of all reverse mortgages, has moved into a live pricing environment where the interest rates could fluctuate during the processing of the loan. For some, this reduces the expected benefit or all out takes them out of their ability to attain a reverse mortgage. Though I have been able to work around most of these situations to this point, it remains an unsettling reality in today’s market.

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One Comment on “Reverse Mortgage Industry – Current Implications”


  1. No matter how things go nowadays, I like your idea of keeping an open conversation with all clients so they know what’s in store for them, thus helping them to decide.


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