RMF Expands Reverse Mortgage Capabilities in Hawaii, Opens Honolulu Office

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Reverse Mortgage Finance (RMF) has expanded its home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) and proprietary reverse mortgage offerings in Hawaii, giving RMF the ability to serve clients in all 50 states across the country. On the wholesale and correspondent side, RMF’s associated credit companies can now also acquire loans within the state.

While the lender has been buying and servicing reverse mortgages in Hawaii for some time now, the move gives RMF the ability to create and guarantee its own loans within the state. Hawaii law requires a mortgage lender to have a physical presence in order to obtain permission to obtain a mortgage license and offer such products to their residents.

Consequently, the company created a physical location in the state to obtain a new license and will be able to offer a full suite of reverse mortgage products that are owned and supported by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). …

Why Hawaii is the Right Place for RMF

Several favorable factors will make Hawaii a good fit for RMF, according to Percy Ihara, the company’s reverse mortgage specialist who will lead its newly opened branch in Honolulu on Oahu.

Percy Ehara

“The median cost of a single family home in Hawaii is nearly $ 1 million, and the median cost of condominiums is around $ 445,000,” Ihara says to RMD. “In addition, Hawaii has the highest per capita seniors in the United States and has the highest life expectancy in the country with an average age of 81.3 years.”

In addition, Hawaii is also home to an older workforce, a cohort that may seek out aging options locally while potentially still working, Ihara explains.

“Hawaii is also among the leaders in terms of the percentage of people 55 and older working, which means that for those seniors who still want to work (or still need to), the opportunities are likely to be plentiful.” He says.

This latest development is the culmination of a lot of dedication that the company has been planning for some time, according to Mark O’Neill, national wholesale leader and correspondent for RMF.

“RMF has been buying closed-end loans in Hawaii for years,” says O’Neill to RMD. “The plan has always been to come to Hawaii to work with brokers and P / A as soon as we can find staff. We found the right person in Percy and are proud to finally get licenses in all 50 states. “

What does this extension mean

For RMF, the ability to now offer its products in all 50 states is a major advance that will only help increase the visibility and affordability of reverse mortgages, as well as provide Hawaii homeowners with additional opportunities to leverage the capital they have created. over the years in their homes. This was announced by the President of RMF David Peskin.

“Expanding to Hawaii is a milestone. We can now do business in all 50 states, helping more seniors live comfortably and confidently in their favorite homes, ”Peskin said in the expansion announcement. “Hawaii is a particularly attractive state for retirees. With 19% of the population age 65 and over and an average home value of over $ 600,000, many homeowners may consider using a reverse mortgage to meet their retirement planning needs. ”

As the lender’s chief executive officer in Hawaii, Ihara has also been the publisher and editor of Generations magazine since 2010. He also hosts Generations Radio Podcasts, a weekly series on aging and older age. Ihara has nearly 20 years of experience in the reverse mortgage industry and says he believes in the product’s ability to allow some seniors to age on the spot.

“RMF has opened a branch in Honolulu, run by Percy Ehara. Percy is a fantastic employee for RMF, with his extensive industry and product knowledge and experience in helping seniors age comfortably on the spot, ”said Richard Thorpe, Country Manager for National Distributed Retail Sales at RMF. “Percy will serve all of the Hawaiian Islands outside of this location in the short term, and our long term plan is to increase sales next year. We are thrilled to be able to offer our Hawaii brokers the opportunity to offer not only RMF HECM, but Equity Elite as well. ”

The uniqueness of the state

Homes in Hawaii have a typical value of over $ 718,000, according to the Zillow Home Price Index, and the average home value in the area has risen by about 8.3% over the past 12 months. Hawaii has a population of just over 1.4 million in 2019, of which approximately 270,000 are over the age of 65, according to the US Census Bureau.

According to the previous advocacy Conducted by RMD on the reverse mortgage business in Hawaii, the state has unique characteristics not commonly found in other states across the country. Only a few, according to one neighborhood creator, include Ohana housing units – or a second home allowed on a site where zoning would normally only allow one home.

Other unique components to be found in Hawaii include single-family homes in condominium ownership regimes and lava flow hazard zones, which can be found on Hawaii’s “Big Island” itself. Multi-generational housing can also be common, sometimes in Ohana units to help with expenses for certain families.

These and other unique attributes related to geography, topography, and household values ​​can be challenging, but Ihara is confident in his ability to manage them, given his previous experience with these and other types of difficulties.

“Hawaii is unlike any other state,” Ihara told RMD. “Neighboring islands have their own county building codes and restrictions, such as the active volcano Kilauea, where drainage and septic systems are more common. Appraisers live on each island, although due to the current influx of sales and refinancing, appraisal times have been shortened. With over 31 years of lending experience, knowledge and local contacts in appraisal and banking, I have closed loans on all islands and have experience with most types of buildings on all islands. “

Ihara will serve the entire state from its headquarters in Honolulu, made much more affordable by the widespread availability of information and communications technology. However, this does not mean that hiring specialists to service each of the islands is out of the question.

“With the technology boom due to more and more people working remotely, we can now serve all the islands from one office,” Ihara told RMD. “I fly and will fly to all the islands; however, I see hiring a reverse mortgage specialist for each island in the future. “

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