News

MPA Magazine: The Reverse Revolution

MPAMAG.COM, August 2014 (Issue 8.4) — The reverse mortgage market is lucrative, growing, and finding ways to help seniors when nothing else can. So why are some traditional originators wary of adding reverse mortgages to their product mix? MPA (Mortgage Professional America) sat down with six reverse mortgage experts–including Jonathan Scarpati, Vice President for Wholesale Lending at Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR)–to talk about growing the industry, attracting new talent and tapping into a market of 10 million homeowners. Read more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Urban Financial of America, LLC introduces “HomeSafe®” jumbo reverse mortgage for homeowners with significant property values

Proprietary product offers opportunity for consumers to access more loan proceeds
than with a traditional reverse mortgage

Now available for homeowners in high home value states of California, Florida, Hawaii and New Jersey 

 

TULSA, OK (September 2, 2014) — Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR), one of the top lenders of reverse mortgages in the United States, today introduced its HomeSafe® proprietary reverse mortgage. Through HomeSafe®, loan proceeds of up to $2.25 million are available, compared to traditional reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Loans (HECMs), which currently have legislated maximum available loan proceeds of $469,125.

“Now homeowners with significant value in their homes have a reverse mortgage option that may afford them more loan proceeds, and potentially a greater amount of cash up front, than a HECM product. Ultimately, HomeSafe® can give borrowers an opportunity to tap into more of that property value when they need it,” said Steve McClellan, President of FAR.

As with traditional reverse mortgages or HECMs, HomeSafe® can be used by homeowners or homebuyers age 62 and older to leverage home equity for long-term retirement planning. While borrowers can use the proceeds however they choose, HomeSafe® may be well suited to extinguishing existing mortgage debt, making improvements or modifications to the home to accommodate changing needs, supplementing medical and in-home care coverage, or buying a home.

However, unlike HECMs, HomeSafe® does not carry a required mortgage insurance premium, removing a significant cost. It also is more flexible than a HECM. For purchase transactions, seller concessions and lender credits are allowed. And condominiums valued at over $500,000 do not have to be FHA-approved for the owners to use this product, unlike HECMs—which can be important for homeowners living in or wanting to buy into higher-priced condo or active adult communities. Finally, the full amount of the loan value is available at closing.

“FAR has been a trusted resource for traditional HECM reverse mortgages for more than a decade,” McClellan said. “With HomeSafe®, now we can meet the needs of even more consumers through a compelling and competitive proprietary reverse mortgage product.”

FAR plans to roll out HomeSafe® to additional states. The company is licensed in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

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About Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR)

Integrity, knowledge, and a focus on making the reverse mortgage process as simple as possible: that’s what Finance of America Reverse LLC, or FAR, is all about. Founded in 2003, the company is ranked among the top reverse mortgage lenders in the United States; it has been the nation’s number-one wholesale reverse mortgage originator since December 2011, based on trailing 12 months’ endorsement volume.1 FAR’s retail and wholesale divisions are licensed in most states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA), which works to strengthen and safeguard reverse mortgages, and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).

 

1Source: Reverse Market Insight

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UFG Holdings Names Karen C. Tankersley General Counsel

TULSA, OK (August 20, 2014) — UFG Holdings, LLC, the holding company of top reverse mortgage lender Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR), has named Karen C. Tankersley General Counsel. She will lead the legal department for the entire UFG Holdings enterprise and oversee the implementation of new corporate initiatives, corporate governance principles and other legal and regulatory functions.

“Karen brings more than 25 years of legal experience, including in-house financial services firm expertise, to FAR’s businesses,” said Steve McClellan, President of FAR. “Her knowledge of regulatory and investor compliance across mortgage origination and servicing is invaluable as we seek to expand our presence in the market.”

Tankersley joins UFG from Nationstar Mortgage, where she was Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer. Previously she worked for various financial institutions including Aurora Bank FSB, Lehman Brothers, Finance America, LLC and Amresco, Inc. as well as for law firms. Tankersley has a B.A. from Texas A&M University and J.D. from University of Texas Law School.

FAR is licensed in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

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About Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

Integrity, knowledge, and a focus on making the reverse mortgage process as simple as possible: that’s what Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR), is all about. Founded in 2003, the company is ranked among the top reverse mortgage lenders in the United States; it has been the nation’s number-one wholesale reverse mortgage originator since December 2011, based on trailing 12 months’ endorsement volume.1 FAR’s retail and wholesale divisions are licensed in most states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA), which works to strengthen and safeguard reverse mortgages, and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).

 

1Source: Reverse Market Insight

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Denver’s Villager Newspaper: Making sense of a reverse mortgage

Denver, CO, July 23, 2014 — In an interview with The Villager Newspaper, Peter Bell, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), explains how reverse mortgages work, what’s new about them, and why people should start looking at their home equity as a financial asset.

Says Bell, “The big challenge for us as a society is funding longevity. My grandparents worked till age 70 and passed away at 78. They had eight years of retirement. My dad worked till 65 and now he’s 90. How do we make those resources last? When you look at (the baby) boomers, there’s 60 to 70 million of us approaching retirement and half have no savings other than the wealth in their homes. Clearly, home equity has to be part of the funding-longevity equation.” Read more.

 

 

 

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Denver a test market for reverse mortgage rebranding

By Aldo Svaldi

The Denver Post, 07/19/2014

Tighter rules on reverse mortgages have reduced their popularity with seniors, something the industry hopes a new ad campaign can change.

Denver is one of three markets, along with Philadelphia and Seattle, where the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association is testing a new marketing approach, said Peter Bell, the association’s president.

“The theme is retire smart,” Bell said.

Read the full article.

 

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CBS News: Reverse mortgages may be ready for a revival

CBS MoneyWatch reports that, “reverse mortgages can provide a way for many Americans to fund a comfortable retirement and may grow in popularity as millions of baby boomers enter their golden years.” According to a June 2 article by CBS News writer Aimee Picchi, Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride told CBS MoneyWatch, “The reverse mortgage is going to be a lifeline for millions of retirees in the years to come… In large part that’s because people may not have enough saved in their 401(k) plans or IRAs, and the bulk of their wealth may be tied up in the equity in their home. The reverse mortgage becomes the avenue to access those funds.” Read the full article.

 

 

 

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UFA Now Offers Reverse Mortgages in Hawaii

TULSA, OK (July 21, 2014) — Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR), one of the top lenders of reverse mortgages in the United States, is now licensed to conduct its retail and wholesale reverse mortgage business in the state of Hawaii.

Reverse and traditional “forward” mortgage companies licensed in Hawaii can now offer FAR’s competitively priced reverse mortgages, which allow those age 62 and older to convert a portion of their home equity into tax-free funds for greater financial flexibility while remaining in their homes. FAR is consistently ranked as the nation’s top wholesale reverse mortgage lender, providing wholesale and correspondent lenders with best-in-class operational support and reliably quick turn times. Homeowners in Hawaii also can contact FAR directly to work with a licensed Reverse Mortgage Specialist.

“FAR is pleased to bring a new reverse mortgage option to Hawaii,” said Steve McClellan, President of FAR. “Our underwriting team and locally-based account executive have a deep understanding of the valuations, environmental zoning, landscaping requirements and other unique aspects of the Hawaii real estate market, as well as the needs of brokers and correspondent lenders. With our years of expertise, reputation for making the process easy, and our highly competitive pricing as one of the largest GNMA issuers, FAR is an excellent partner not only for Hawaii’s current reverse mortgage providers but also for forward mortgage companies looking to expand into the reverse mortgage business.”

FAR’s wholesale efforts in Hawaii are led by account executive Herbert Lau, a lifelong resident of the state and 16-year veteran in the mortgage business. Mortgage brokers and correspondents interested in learning more about FAR’s reverse mortgage offerings in Hawaii can contact Herb at 808-260-6827 or hlau@ufareverse.com.

FAR is licensed in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

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About Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

Integrity, knowledge, and a focus on making the reverse mortgage process as simple as possible: that’s what Finance of America Reverse LLC, or FAR, is all about. Founded in 2003, the company is ranked among the top reverse mortgage lenders in the United States; it has been the nation’s number-one wholesale reverse mortgage originator since December 2011, based on trailing 12 months’ endorsement volume. (Source: Reverse Market Insight.) FAR’s retail and wholesale divisions are licensed in most states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA), which works to strengthen and safeguard reverse mortgages, and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).

 

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Effort to Educate Older Homeowners on Retirement Finance and Longevity Launches in Philadelphia, Denver and Seattle

Increasing lifespan coupled with earlier retirement poses a challenge for many individuals and couples trying to figure out how to make sure their financial resources will last their lifetime. Longevity is a gift on the one hand, but it also requires forethought and planning to make sure one’s finances will sustain them through the duration of their life.

While the U.S. has an extensive social safety net with Social Security benefits and other resources available to those in need, it is really the smart use of savings, investments and other assets, that will contribute to a comfortable retirement for many Americans. There are a number of tools and strategies to help one’s financial assets last as long as possible and retirees need to familiarize themselves with all available options.

This presents a need for broad public discussion of the challenges and opportunities faced by America’s aging population.

To stimulate such discussion, National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) is launching a consumer education effort this week, a pilot program in three cities entitled New Reverse Mortgage and built around the theme that a reverse mortgage can be a Smart Choice in planning retirement funding. This educational program is designed to encourage retirees to project their future needs, examine all resources available to them, and consider whether the wealth they have built up by owning their home for many years might be a significant factor in planning for their needs.

The educational campaign now in progress in Philadelphia, Denver and Seattle features television commercials, print ads in major newspapers, a dedicated website at www.newreversemortgage.org, brochures, public information forums, outreach to financial planners and an opportunity for individuals to contact NRMLA or its members to ask questions and get more insight on how home equity might be incorporated into strategic plans for funding longevity.

Many authoritative voices, including noted financial planner Harold Evensky, personal finance columnist Jane Bryant Quinn, and Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Studies at Boston College have suggested that, for many older homeowners, a reverse mortgage might be a way to tap their housing wealth and preserve other assets for greater long-term growth.

A reverse mortgage is a financial instrument that enables homeowners, aged 62 years or older, to draw down their equity as cash as needed, without having to make any monthly mortgage payments, sell the home or move out. Cash advances received from a reverse mortgage, plus the interest that accrues on any outstanding balance, become due and payable when the homeowner permanently leaves the home, either by selling and moving or passing away. Almost all reverse mortgages available in the U.S. today are FHA-insured home equity conversion mortgages, often referred to as a “HECM” (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage).

“A reverse mortgage is a uniquely flexible tool that has been used by nearly a million homeowners since Congress created the HECM program in 1988. Homeowners have used HECMs to pay-off their existing mortgages and eliminate their monthly payments, draw additional cash when needed, make improvements to their homes that help them age in place, or avoid selling other assets such as stocks and mutual funds allowing those assets to continue to grow and generate dividends,” explains Peter Bell, President & CEO of NRMLA.

“Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t fully understand how and when a reverse mortgage might be beneficial,” explains Otto Kumbar, CEO of Rancho Cordova, California-based Liberty Home Equity, one of six companies funding NRMLA’s educational effort. “That’s why some of the leading companies in the reverse mortgage business have pooled our resources to develop this educational program.”

Throughout the history of the HECM program, HUD has responsibly observed the behavior of reverse mortgage borrowers and made adjustments to the program based on the borrower experience.  Over the past nine months, as a result of the passage of the 2013 Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act by Congress, HUD has been implementing a series of adjustments that makes this retirement funding option safer for borrowers.  The recent changes include limitations on upfront draws, which is aimed at prolonging the life of borrower assets, and financial assessment, which will indicate if borrowers have the means to fulfill their financial obligations.

“We recognize that a reverse mortgage is not a solution for everyone, but with sensible changes to the HECM program being implemented by HUD, we thought it’s time that homeowners take a fresh look to see if a reverse mortgage might be useful to them. Our goal is to give consumers an opportunity to make an informed decision, not stay away because of outdated misperceptions,” said Bell.

The NRMLA New Reverse Mortgage Educational Campaign will run through October 5, 2014 in the three pilot markets. Consumer opinion research was conducted before the launch and will be ongoing throughout the campaign and upon its conclusion.

 

Remarks from companies sponsoring the New Reverse Mortgage Educational Campaign

“We’re trying to arm our prospective customers with knowledge and information so they can make a pragmatic decision on how best to manage their financial matters through retirement,” according to Steve McClellan, President & CEO of Finance of America Reverse (FAR), Tulsa, OK.

“Talking to consumers who call our company, we find that there are many misperceptions about reverse mortgages that often lead to a negative opinion of them. However, when you talk to homeowners who have incorporated them into their personal finance plans, they report a very high rate of satisfaction,”according to Reza Jahangiri, CEO of American Advisors Group (AAG), Orange, CA.

“We’re seeing more and more future-oriented homeowners examine reverse mortgages as they project their income and expenses, savings and investments, and cash flow out into the future and recognize that the wealth they’ve built up in their homes is a significant resource that could be an important factor for retiring comfortably,” according to Colin Cushman, CEO of Generation Mortgage Company, Atlanta, GA, who before joining his company was a Director at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development working on the HECM program.

“Recent changes and new program guidelines make the HECM program a choice worth considering as a part of our customers’ comprehensive retirement plan,” said Scott Clarke, President of Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Inc., Spring, TX.  “Education is one of our core values and our hope is that this initiative will provide prospective customers with the ability to have a wider, more informed choice.”

“Reverse mortgages have come a long way but most people aren’t aware of how a reverse mortgage can positively impact their retirement years.  The recent changes have not only strengthened the program but broadened its application,” says Gregg Smith, President and COO of One Reverse Mortgage, San Diego, CA.

 

Comments from Researchers and Reporters

“The SRM (Standby Reverse Mortgage) strategy is appealing for four primary reasons: it diminishes the size of the cash bucket and consequently the opportunity cost of holding cash; it provides flexibility in that the investment bucket is not sold during bear markets; it allows the retiree to decide how much home equity is used to meet needs if the investment bucket is exhausted; and most importantly, it increases the life expectancy of an investor’s nest egg.” (Standby Reverse Mortgages: A Risk Management Tool for Retirement Distributions by John Salter, Shaun Pfeiffer and Harold Evensky, Journal of Financial Planning, August 2012)

“I’ve got a financial proposal that is probably going to surprise you. Take out a reverse mortgage at age 62, even though you don’t need the money. In fact, take it especially if you don’t need the money.” (A Great Reverse Mortgage Idea: Take a Credit Line Now by Jane Bryant Quinn, JaneBryantQuinn.com, August 15, 2013)

“Given the relative unimportance of asset allocations, financial advisers will be of greater help to their clients if they focus on a broad array of tools – including working longer, controlling spending, and taking out a reverse mortgage.” (How Important is Asset Allocation to Financial Security in Retirement? by Alicia H. Munnell, Natalia Sergeyevna Orlova, and Anthony Web, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, April 2012)

Jonathan Scarpati Named Vice President of Urban Financial of America’s Wholesale Channel

TULSA, OK (April 2, 2014)—Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR) has appointed industry veteran Jonathan Scarpati to the company’s newly created position of vice president, wholesale production, overseeing  all of Urban’s account executives. A seasoned reverse mortgage sales executive with more than 10 years of industry experience, Scarpati joined FAR in March 2010. He will continue to report to Sherry Apanay, Chief Sales Officer.

Said Apanay, “Jonathan’s business acumen and leadership skills are equaled by his focus on customer service. As FAR’s top producing account executive for the past three years, it’s a natural transition. ”

Commented Steve McClellan, President of FAR, “We are known for giving our wholesale partners the very highest level of support. Jonathan has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to serving our partners and helping them succeed, and his reverse mortgage knowledge and relationship-building skills are strong assets that our partners will continue to benefit from.”

Prior to FAR, Scarpati was vice president of sales for Senior Lending Network, where he helped grow an industry-leading consumer leads platform as well as the company’s wholesale lending platform. He holds a B.S. degree in Leadership and Consumer Economics from the University of Delaware.

Finance of America Reverse is has been the nation’s number-one wholesale reverse mortgage lender since December 2011, based on trailing 12 months’ endorsement volume, according to Reverse Market Insight.

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About Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR)—formerly Urban Financial Group—is among the top reverse mortgage lenders in the United States. Its retail division is licensed in 44 states, and its wholesale operation is licensed in 43 states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA), which works to strengthen and safeguard reverse mortgages, and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS NAME: URBAN FINANCIAL GROUP OF AMERICA, LLC.  NEBRASKA BUSINESS NAME: REVERSE IT! LLC.

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Graham A. Fleming Joins Urban Financial of America (UFA) as Chief Administrative Officer

TULSA, OK (December 16, 2013) — Mortgage banking executive Graham A. Fleming has been appointed to the new position of managing director and chief administrative officer of Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR), reporting to company president Steve McClellan.

With more than 15 years of experience in the consumer lending business, Fleming was formerly president of Icon Residential Lenders, LLC, a wholesale and retail mortgage lender that he launched de novo in 2006 and which funded over $2.5 billion per year. Icon Residential Lenders was recently sold to Rushmore Home Loans. Previously, he was chief operating officer of Finance America, which was a Lehman Brothers Company. A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants, he resides in California.

Said McClellan, “Graham’s extensive track record of strategic leadership in financial services management and business development is a tremendous asset. We are delighted to have him as part of our team as FAR begins an exciting new era, with new ownership and plans for continued growth and enhancement of our best-in-class sales and operations platform.”

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About Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

Finance of America Reverse, or FAR, (formerly Urban Financial Group) is a lender specializing in reverse mortgages is among the top reverse mortgage originators in the United States. The company is ranked as the nation’s number-one wholesale reverse mortgage lender since December 2011, based on trailing 12 months’ endorsement volume.1 Its retail division is licensed in 44 states, and its wholesale operation is licensed in 43 states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA), which works to strengthen and safeguard reverse mortgages, and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).

1Source: Reverse Market Insight

Urban Financial of America, LLC (UFA) Names Kristen Sieffert Chief Operating Officer

TULSA, OK (December 11, 2013) — Following the November 30 purchase of Finance of America Reverse (formerly Urban Financial Group) by an investment group led by Brian L. Libman, the company has appointed Kristen Sieffert chief operating officer under the new ownership. A seasoned reverse mortgage executive, Sieffert joined Urban in January 2012. She will continue to report to FAR President Steve McClellan.

Said McClellan, “For these past two years, Kristen has been an absolutely critical member of our team. Her outstanding leadership and her knowledge of all aspects of the reverse mortgage business have been essential to the success of our company and its transition to new ownership. I look forward to her continued fine work.”

Prior to joining Urban, Sieffert was acting president for San Diego-based EquiPoint and vice president for operations at One Reverse Mortgage. She began her reverse mortgage career in 2004 with Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corp.

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About Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

Finance of America Reverse, or FAR, (formerly Urban Financial Group) is a lender specializing in reverse mortgages and ranks among the top reverse mortgage originators in the United States. The company’s retail division is licensed in 44 states, and its wholesale operation is licensed in 43 states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgages Lenders Association (NRMLA), which works to strengthen and safeguard reverse mortgages, and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).

New Name, Same Reverse Mortgage Experts: Urban Financial Group is now Urban Financial of America, LLC

TULSA, OK (November 26, 2013) — Urban Financial Group announced that effective today, the company has changed its legal name to Finance of America Reverse LLC, and will be positioning itself in the marketplace as FAR, with a new logo.

Said Steve McClellan, FAR’s President and CEO, “Although our name has changed, the team that our customers have come to know will continue to provide the same superior level of service and reverse mortgage expertise that sets Urban apart. We’re excited to have a new identity that better reflects our national profile as a top retail and wholesale lender, and our position as America’s leading wholesale reverse mortgage company.”

FAR’s new consumer website address is www.ufareverse.com. Information about FAR’s wholesale and correspondent program is at www.ufawholesale.com.  FAR-approved brokers and correspondent lenders can log in at www.ufawholesale.com/brokers for easy access to a full array of important business resources, in one centralized location.

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About Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

Finance of America Reverse, or FAR, (formerly Urban Financial Group) is a lender specializing in reverse mortgages and ranks among the top reverse mortgage originators in the United States. The company’s retail division is licensed in 44 states, and its wholesale operation is licensed in 43 states and Puerto Rico. FAR is a proud member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), which serves as an educational resource, policy advocate and public affairs center for the reverse mortgage industry.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jean Noble
Director  |  Head of Marketing
631-622-4519 or jnoble@ufareverse.com