4 Ways to Slow HECM FHA Insurance Claims

Four ways to shore up the HECM BEFORE removing it from FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund

For nearly four years there have been repeated calls to remove the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. The HECM was placed into FHA’s insurance fund which backs both traditional and reverse loans in 2009. As HECMs originated at record-high values prior to the housing crash terminated or were placed into assignment many began to ask if the program should no longer be commingled with the larger fund. Last year the Trump Administration’s housing finance reform plan echoed this concern. 4 years earlier an Urban Institute study called to remove the HECM citing the program’s volatility in calculating the program’s valuation each year.  The report states “If we assume that half the HECM business is at a fixed rate and that each 1 percent rise or fall in rates causes a 12 percent fall or rise in the value of the loan, that would explain most of the drop in the value of the fund last year and much of the rise in the value of the HECM book of business this year”. With interest rates falling significantly in late 2019 and in 2020 we should expect an improved economic valuation of the HECM.

However, if Congress ultimately approves the move the following issues should first be addressed.

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