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It’s a question of confidence versus capacity

Our industry recently broke a record for the number of FHA case numbers issued in the month of September. Yes, fear was a motivator, but what lessons can we learn from the 200%+ spike in reverse mortgage applications?

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James E. Veale, CPA, MBT January 5, 2018 at 8:38 am

It is amazing how few people know about this stunning development. The industry seems so focused on the negative, that it fails to note the positive as I did in a Linked In article last month.

It is worthy of repeating. The number of HECM case number assignments of 20,405 issued during September 2017 is THE highest total case number assignments EVER issued by FHA in a single month. Yet the number of NMLS loan officers providing HECMs today is lower than in the past. So let us look at the three highest peaks of the past which all occurred after HECMs were brought into the MMI Fund.

For example, when the principal limit factors on the first principal limit factors were to drop by 10% on October 1, 2009, we saw 19,055 case number assignments. That was when the annual HECM endorsement count was at an all time high of 114,785 and the count for September 2009 was the second highest total for monthly case number assignments issued ever achieved by the industry.

The third highest month was March 2009 in the middle high production months of fiscal 2009 when the count was 16,064. Remember in fiscal 2009, there were more originators than today.

The fourth highest month for case number assignments was September 2013 at 16,006 which was caused by the termination of all HECMs and Savers on September 30, 2013.

But during October 2017, it seems as if all significant efforts in obtaining new case number assignments dried up and blew away. That month only shows 2,750 new case number assignments being issued. That is the worst such total in almost 14 years.

Case number assignments for May 2017 through August 2017 (four months) was 31,641, almost 8,000 per month. It was not until very late in August that we first became aware of the changes contained in Mortgagee Letter 2017-12, so that had no impact on these numbers except for August 2017 when case numbers assigned during the month reached 8,907.

So why are case number assignments now so low? The next lowest month for monthly case number assignments in the almost 14 year period was October 2013 at 3,611.

It seems the most effective months for creating the case number assignments needed are months when a message of fear is the most effective. Most will want to deny this but the numbers show the story.

Shannon Hicks January 5, 2018 at 9:04 am

Jim, Thank you for alerting me to the record number of case numbers issued in September. Here’s to the potential of increasing volume without having to rely on fear of loss as a motivation.

James E. Veale, CPA, MBT January 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm


Your number was about as right on as one can get so no worries. It is always much easier to copy than speak.

Let us hope for unexpectedly good case number assignments throughout 2018.

Happy New Year.


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