Too Many Chefs in Financial Overhaul?

Responding to President Trump’s call for a complete overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory structure, several U.S. financial institutions and organizations are weighing in on what should be done and just how it should be done. One of those organizations is NRMLA, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, who last week submitted a host of requests to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, asking the agency to update the country’s reverse mortgage regulations. Specific in their request was the non-borrowing spouse rules and other parts of reverse mortgage programs.

NRMLA asked HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) to extend the current timeframe for non-borrowing spouses to claim the right to live in a property from 90 to 180 days, deeming the three-month window is too short — and pointing out that the 90-day span isn’t mentioned anywhere in the official Home Equity Conversion Mortgage paperwork.

“Having HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage—the name of the FHA’s reverse mortgage program) loan documents not match mortgagee letters in this regard is both burdensome to lenders and puts HUD at further risk of litigation and loss,” NRMLA’s letter read.

Other key requests in the letter include:

  • A provision that would allow lenders to make changes to     HECM loan documents without HUD’s immediate approval. The department would     then have 60 days to respond with objections to the mortgagee’s revisions     to the paperwork.
  • An extension of the death-notice timeframe. Under     current HUD rules, servicers must notify the department within 60 days of a     borrower’s death; NRMLA claims this amount of time is “unduly burdensome     and patently unfair,” as public death records are not always updated     expediently. NRMLA asked HUD to give servicers at least 30 days from the     receipt of public records indicating that a borrower has died.
  • The introduction of verbal occupancy certifications.     Claiming that senior borrowers don’t always return written occupancy     requests immediately, NRMLA asked HUD to allow verbal confirmation to     suffice until a written notice can be returned. “Placing seniors at risk,     and requiring servicers to begin a foreclosure process when the servicer     may have other information that the senior in fact may still live in the     home, is burdensome and inefficient,” NRMLA writes.

The Washington, D.C.-based trade group also requested several changes to the HECM for Purchase program, which allows a senior borrower to buy a home using a reverse mortgage, calling on HUD to allow seller concessions and permit borrowers to apply for a reverse mortgage before receiving the certificate of occupancy on a new property. NRMLA specifically pointed out that the Federal Housing Administration allows a variety of equity and credits on traditional forward mortgage products.

“Having inconsistent requirements confuses lenders, and creates a barrier to entry in the reverse mortgage market by lenders that currently do not offer reverse mortgages, but that have decades of experience in originating forward mortgage loans,” NRMLA’s letter reads.

The 16-page list of requests comes in response to a HUD call for regulatory input from the lending community, with the specific goal of identifying regulations that impede job growth and impose undue costs — or which lenders simply deem “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.” The department issued the open request for comments — published in the Federal Register — under a pair of executive orders from Trump which sought to identify and eliminate a wide swath of financial regulations.

No corresponding comment