New Senior FHA Staff Describes Importance Of Reverse Mortgage Product


Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Assistant Deputy Secretary (DAS) for Single-Family Housing Julienne Y. Joseph has made her public debut since her appointment was announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the last week, describing for reverse mortgage professionals the importance she places on the program given her first-hand experience as well as her desire to work with the reverse mortgage industry on an ongoing basis.

That’s according to DAS Joseph herself, speaking at an opening session at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) virtual summer meeting on Tuesday. Unbeknownst to NRMLA President Steve Irwin and many event attendees prior to her speech, DAS Joseph described how she herself created Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) as a initiator in “a previous life”, she declared.

This direct experience with the product, along with early interaction with an elderly couple and their families who were helped by the HECM product gave DAS Joseph an appreciation for the HECM program and the role it can play in stability. of retired seniors, she explained.

A first experience with HECM

Having previously served as Associate Director of Government Housing Programs and Member Engagement at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Joseph previously had experience with NRMLA and its members. However, she also expressed her appreciation for the HECM product in her opening remarks, revealing that she herself had created HECMs during her time working as a residential mortgage creator for companies such as SunTrust and First Horizon. National Corporation, according to Joseph’s LinkedIn profile work history. .

“I understand the importance, not only as a person whose parents are elders, but also because I am originally from [reverse mortgages] myself, ”DAS Joseph told NRMLA attendees.

She then told participants about an experience she had that opened her up to a storyline that illustrated to her how a HECM can impact the lives of older people based on a work experience she had. has had in the past.

“Earlier in my career, I heard about an African-American couple residing in the Tidewater area of ​​Virginia – where I’m from, I’m from the Virginia Beach area – and their house was paid for, but they needed a little bit of an extra boost to their retirement income, ”she explained.“ And to stay in their home and continue to live independent and self-sufficient lives, they needed to find a little help. “

That help came in the form of a HECM, Joseph said, a solution found after an initial consultation with a housing counselor. The couple qualified for the loan, applied for it and eventually got it, and Joseph saw how their life progressed after that point, she explained.

“Both were able to stay at home and grow old at home for the golden years of their lives, which is what we all aspire to,” she said. “But then when they died, HECM’s outstanding balance was paid off and there was still a modest amount of equity left that was passed on to their adult children. So, in my opinion, this is what makes HECM a good option for seniors who can tap into the equity in their home, to allow them to stay in. [those homes]. “

The illustrative scenario on current politics

Joseph then turned to the current affairs of HECM, describing how this scenario fits in with the leadership of the HUD and the White House in using government housing programs specifically to facilitate assistance to vulnerable populations. , including the elderly as well as people of color, she explained.

“In this case, he also checked two of the [Biden] main objectives of the administration: the former being one of the most vulnerable populations in the country, it has made it possible to continue making the house possible for the elderly couple, ”she said. “And then the second thing is that it allowed them to pass the wealth on to their children. This is not the end. HUD continues to make improvements to the HECM program based in part on feedback from organizations such as [NRMLA], it helps a lot more older people to age in place.

HUD leaders, including department secretary Marcia Fudge, stressed that HUD programs must both work as intended and work well, DAS Joseph said.

“[Our programs must remain] work effectively, and they must work to achieve greater homeownership equity for underserved groups, ”said Joseph. “This includes those who are now homeowners but would have fewer options to stay in their homes without the HECM program. It is the cornerstone of the existence of the HECM program. Aging in home has become even more important over the past year as seniors seek to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. HUD is focused full-time and as a full team to ensure that the millions of people struggling with COVID get the financial help they need. “

This includes the $ 10 billion Homeowner Assistance Fund which is part of the recently passed 2021 US bailout, and which HUD officials previously described for RMD as the most applicable form of relief in legislation. for reverse mortgage borrowers. In addition to disbursing funds under this legislation, HUD remains focused on preventing foreclosures on vulnerable populations where possible, including the elderly who are HECM borrowers, Joseph explained.

“We are also strongly committed to providing as much relief as possible under our own authority,” she said. “And in our single family insurance programs, under the new administration, we have broadened and expanded mortgage relief for our term mortgage program and the HECM program. The last thing any of us want is for our seniors to lose their homes, because it’s devastating. We don’t want to see this happen to anyone, but especially our seniors during the pandemic, especially since they can’t make their tax and insurance payments. This is not a sufficient excuse for our seniors not to be home.

To reiterate the ministry’s commitment to this mission, DAS Joseph reiterated for the reverse mortgage public the availability of various reverse mortgage relief programs, including an extension of the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for borrowers. with single-family mortgages insured by the FHA for an additional period until July. 31 2021, as well as a further extension of the start dates of the initial extension of COVID-19 Forbearance and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) to provide additional COVID-19 forbearance and HECM extension to certain borrowers.

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