FHA Spokesman Describes Federal Aid For Reverse Mortgage Borrowers Continuing To Work With Industry


The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) are working to coordinate with the White House and the US Treasury to determine how real estate conversion mortgage (HECM) borrowers have been affected by COVID. The -19 coronavirus pandemic could receive assistance through the Homeowners Assistance Fund, a channel provided by the passage of the U.S. Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This was announced by Julien J. Joseph, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the FHA (DAS) for Single Family Housing. …

Speaking at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders’ (NRMLA) Virtual Summer Meeting this month, DAS Joseph described how reverse mortgage borrowers could access some of the allocated funds in the future, an intention already outlined by officials in Joe Biden’s administration shortly before. to pass a massive stimulus bill designed to make life easier for Americans still grappling with the economic fallout from the ongoing pandemic.

Elderly people as part of the American rescue plan

Legislation contains $ 10 billion to create a Homeowners Assistance Fund, which will be directly allocated to states, tribal lands and other territories to help people struggling with housing costs. This fund can be applied to some of the core fees that HECM borrowers need to keep up with as before. detailed for RMD by a Biden administration official.

“Treasury and HUD believe that seniors are among the vulnerable homeowners the Fund is called upon to help,” explained Joseph.

FHA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing Julien J. Joseph

“HUD is actively involved in working with the Treasury Department to implement President Biden’s $ 9.96 billion US rescue plan. […] to help the most vulnerable homeowners in our country, including the elderly, ”she explained. “I am also actively involved in providing as much assistance as possible under our leadership, we are really trying to do that. [With] the bandwidth and capacity we have, we really want to be sure we can help those borrowers who are really struggling right now. ”

Part of the process to develop a more targeted response to older people in general, and to HECM borrowers in particular, was part of the process for developing a more targeted response to older people in general, and to HECM borrowers in particular, that NRMLA collected information about such homeowners, which the association voluntarily shared with relevant departments of the federal government, Joseph said. This will be one of the tools that HUD and FHA will use to develop targeted responses and disseminate this information accordingly.

“We are grateful to the NRMLA for voluntarily providing information on COVID,” explained Joseph. “It was invaluable to us and we are going to use this information to collect statistics that have been provided to the Treasury. [Department]… And we, in turn, will distribute them in the States. We hope states use this information to improve program design for problem HECM borrowers. This is our plan. “

Steve Irwin, President of the NRMLA, spoke about the information that the association provided to the FHA in an interview with RMD.

“The NRMLA is coordinating and collaborating with various consumer protection groups to determine the size of defaults associated with the pandemic and to provide assistance through the Homeowners Assistance Fund program to potentially defaulted HECM borrowers,” Irwin said.

Consulting for the reverse mortgage industry

When NRMLA President Steve Irwin asked DAS Joseph what the association, its membership, or the reverse mortgage industry can do to better facilitate collaboration between product stakeholders and the policy staff that oversees the HECM program, Joseph offered a reassuring and pragmatic look at the collaboration opportunities she foresees. between the government and the reverse mortgage industry.

“Keep doing what you are doing because [reverse mortgage professionals] are an educational resource, ”she said. “As a policy advocate, the information and point of view that you all offer is unlike any other source. […] Your voices are very strong. You all serve a specific demographic niche. There are people who rely on you. And while we, as politicians, have a responsibility to do what we think is best for the industry, you […] to have this point of view from real life. “

Joseph, who once pioneered reverse mortgages, describes that she has an understanding of what perspectives in the industry can help those who make the policies that the industry must adhere to. As such, it is useful for HUD and FHA to know how proponents and other stakeholders are honest and effective with government policies towards the HECM program, she explained.

“I suggest you [continue] tells us what works and what doesn’t, ”she said. “This is the most effective [for us]… In the end, we may have theories and suggestions, but if they cannot be implemented or will not be successful and [fail to] bring positive results, what good is politics if it is not enforceable? “

Constructive feedback continues to be an effective way for the FHA to engage with the reverse mortgage industry, Joseph said, as the theory behind the policy and its potential implications can only do a lot for the people who actually formulate these directives. Continuous dialogue is mutually beneficial.

“Keep giving us constructive feedback that says, ‘This is what you did wrong, this is what you did right,” she said. “Don’t take the ax, take the scalpel. And that’s something that needs to be adjusted to be able to help the communities we want to serve. ” So that would be my suggestion. “

Citing her time with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Joseph explained that the voice of real creators is a voice that should not be discounted by policy makers, she said.

“Even after my MBA, the only thing I can talk about is just the power of the creators’ voices,” she said. “There is nothing more powerful than that because, again, you are a direct line of communication with the consumer. Therefore, I invite you to continue to share with us and criticize us. It is not always helpful to tell us what we want to hear. Continue to provide us with real-life feedback to help us improve. ”

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