Tag Archives: FHA insured loan

HECM Cap Suspension Extended

28 Jun

The suspension of the cap on the number of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgages that can be endorsed by the FHA has been extended again.

The House Appropriations Committee passed a Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that extends by one year the suspension of the cap on the number of HECMs that the Federal Housing Administration can insure.

The bill – approved by a 28-20 vote – would extend the suspension until September 30, 2014.

As originally enacted in 1987, the HECM statute contained a volume cap of 2,500 loans.  That was increased by various increments several times, and finally to 275,000 loans permitted in 2006. Since that time, the cap has not increased but has been temporarily suspended, and the suspension was extended numerous times.

HECM Endorsements Rebound

26 Jun

Endorsements for the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) increased 10.2%  year-over-year in April after the 27% decrease for the same month in the previous year, according to the latest from Reverse Market Insight.

California showed the most total volume at 2,914 units—a 12.2% growth change year-over-year, with Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties taking the top three spots for HECM volumes in April,

New York also put in a strong showing with three of its own—Suffolk, Queens and Kings Counties

FHA Insurance Fund May Need Bailout

12 Apr
Presidential Budget Projects Insurance Fund May Need Treasury Support
from the News for the Week of 4.11.2013 NRMLA Newsletter

President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget, as calculated by the Office of Management and Budget, projects an infusion of $943 million may be required for the MMI Fund Capital Reserve account for the new fiscal year beginning October 2, 2013 to cover projected 30-year losses.  Budget details show positive cash flow of about $4.3 billion for the forward mortgage portion of the fund, but $5.2 billion negative cash flow for reverse mortgage loans.

Since at the end of a loan (or “Maturation Event”) the borrower is only responsible for the appraised value of the home or sales price, the insurance fund covers any remaining balances. The Capital Reserve fund is a projection of the amount of money that will be needed to cover these expenses to FHA.

By statute, the MMI must operate net neutral on an annual basis. It is not supposed to depend on what is commonly called an appropriation, but which in the current verbal war zone are being referred to more frequently as “costs to taxpayers.”

This is just a proposed budget that still needs to be negotiated and passed by Congress. Though no federal budget has made its way out of Congress in the past few years, there seems to be more inertia to pass one this year. With recent years’ books of HECM business looking much better due to increases in insurance premiums and the creation of the HECM Saver, and future effects expected from the recent moratorium on the fixed rate HECM Standard, and, more significantly, increased home values, it is possible that over the time the budget is negotiated, the HECM picture will turn rosier.

At the same time, HUD is looking for the legislative authority to make additional alterations in the HECM program, so that it can make its own adjustments via Mortgagee Letter when a projection like this occurs. In its 2014 Budget Report, “Housing and Communities Built to Last,”  the narrative specifically pinpoints such changes as “instituting a required financial assessment and establishing mandatory escrow amounts.”

New York Regional NRMLA Conference Offers Useful Information – Part TWO – Industry/HUD/FHA Updates

21 Mar

NRMLA President Peter Bell offered welcoming remarks at the General Session Tuesday March 19, 2013.   Guest speakers remarked that 8000 Americans turn 65 every day, and eleven million retirees will not be able to afford household expenses.  Again it was stressed how important a reverse mortgage can be in a wealth management portfolio.  Americans have 50 – 66% of their assets tied up in home equity, while only 2% of those eligible have taken advantage of the HECM product.

Director of HUD Single Family Program Development Karen Hill spoke about FHA policy.  She mentioned the predicted effects of the current sequestration: Staff impacts will include furloughs, a hiring freeze, and limited travel and training.  There will likely be delays in mortgage insurance applications, claims and answers to inquiries.  Counseling grants could also be impacted.

The mission of the FHA is to provide access to credit for under-served borrowers.  They must preserve the health of the MMI fund and manage/mitigate loss.  Steps taken this year were to raise the MMP in forward loans and to consolidate the fixed HECM products, eliminating the Fixed Standard on April 1 of this year.  Ms. Hill predicted that slightly fewer HECMs would be endorsed this year.

Currently, she reported, 73% of HECMs are fixed rate while only 23% are adjustable rate products.  Issues that will be addressed this year are the cap on HECM endorsements, the non-borrowing spouse scenario, and the funding and availability of HECM counseling.  Policy changes being considered may set limits on loan draws, mandate escrows for taxes and insurance, and implement a financial assessment for borrowers.  Policy will be published August 1st for implementation in October.

John Olmstead from the HUD Office of Housing Counseling remarked on their intentions to improve monitoring, communications and metrics for reporting the data collected by reverse mortgage counselors.  There are currently 2400 approved counseling agencies, 129 of which are approved for HECM counseling.  There are 629 active, approved HECM counselors today.

Recent guidance which has been promulgated to reverse mortgage providers includes warning against steering, loan officer participation in counseling, and cases where a loan officer has provided answers to possible counseling quiz answers.

HUD staff reported that $895 million has been disbursed from the insurance fund for 8591 claims processed.  61% of claims resulted from foreclosure and deed-in-lieu, 23 from assignments of mortgage, and a further 9% from mortgagors’ sale.

The Conference then moved to a panel discussion on the state of the reverse mortgage industry.  The goal of empowering the FHA with authority over the HECM product was discussed.  Broadening the marketplace, however, was the theme that everyone agreed is top priority.  Communication with the general public is key.  There have been fewer HECM loans written in the recent past, but the product remains a valuable one.  It is possible that sales strategies changed when the fixed rate product came to the market in 2009 and they need to be changed again to illustrate to seniors the advantages of a reverse mortgage.

The mission of the HECM program is to facilitate aging in place, and many factors in the current market favor its success.  Aging Baby Boomers, appreciation of home values, and the money being spent on TV advertising all bode well for the future of the HECM program.

In NRMLA’s future, we see more professional education and more involvement of state legislators/regulators.

HECM Cap Suspended

12 Mar

The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution last week to suspend the cap on the number of reverse mortgages insured by the FHA.  This suspension is through the end of the Fiscal Year, or September 30, 2013.

The cap is currently set at 275,000 loans.  It has been suspended several times in the past 5 years.  The cap has been raised from 2,500 loans in 1990 to 25,000 loans by the end of 1995. Subsequent raises of the cap led to its current level, set in 2006.

Date Set For Elimination OF HECM Fixed Standard

5 Feb

The FHA has finally set the date for the discontinuation of the Fixed Standard HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) reverse mortgage.

Per MORTGAGEE LETTER 2013-1 from HUD, all fixed interest rate case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2013 can be SAVER products but no longer Standard HECMs.

Read the Mortgagee letter here:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=13-01ml.pdf

All fixed interest rate mortgages that were assigned a FHA case number on or before March 31, 2013, may be processed as either a HECM Standard or HECM Saver as the initial MIP; but any fixed interest rate HECM Standard mortgage must close on or before July 1, 2013.

There has been much discussion in online reverse mortgage forums as to the value of this change.  Some applaud the move, while others question whether it will make a difference.  One motivation for the change was the depleted state of the FHA insurance reserves in a declining housing market.  But will depriving senior borrowers of one avenue for reverse mortgage financing hurt them?

FHA Update

16 Nov

There are a number of newsworthy reports out about the FHA.  Here are two that may impact loan originators at the start of the new year:

First, new lending limits will be announced before the end of the year.  A new mortgagee letter will be issued setting the 2013 loan limits.

Second, the results of the FHA audit were published this week, valuing their insurance fund at negative $13.48 billion.    FHA’s reverse mortgage (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) Portfolio will be valued at negative $2.799 billion at the end of fiscal year 2012.

The Wall Street Journal speculates that the agency is likely to require taxpayer funding to pay for expected losses on the $1.1 trillion in loans that it guarantees.  There is a fear that this will mean an increase in FHA mortgage insurance premiums.  As soon as this information is released, we will post it here.