I have been originating HECMs for more than 16 years and have seen many changes. I know that changes are and will be standard procedure for as long as we are in the business. But one thing that will never change is the satisfaction I feel when I close a loan and see my client’s happiness over their newfound security.
Some of my clients do not have a mortgage and have not had one for many years. Others have a mortgage but it is so old they forgot about the rigors of the process. Add the dimension of CFPB oversight and the result has been some confusion and frustration. So, at the first “kitchen table” discussion I have with my clients, I go over the requirements for Financial Assessment, which can be closely compared to the process of a forward mortgage. This takes a considerable amount of time. I find having the initial discussion when I am making my presentation and proposal makes the application process much smoother. I at least get on the table what I would expect of them to make the process smoother.
Financial Assessment has been very positive for some of my clients. By accepting a full LESA that will pay taxes and insurance for as long as they have the HECM, they get a sense of security that their bills will be paid.
Patience can be a virtue when you are a HECM loan originator. I try to put my clients at ease because the process can seem daunting with all of the documentation. I take whatever time is necessary to assure them that this loan will bring them the peace of mind that comes with financial security.
I am proud to say that my open-communication approach makes my clients confident that the process will be a smooth one. Visits with a new client seem to take longer and there are more of them than before in order to gather the documentation required to meet FHA underwriting conditions. Many do not have computers or scanners to send documents, so that means another trip to collect the paperwork I need.
I have worked to fine-tune my process to increase efficiencies and to make my client comfortable and informed as we move toward closing. I also love when a client from many years ago calls to ask a question. I just received a call from a couple I helped 10 years ago. They wanted to meet and discuss their situation, and I was glad they thought of reaching out to me. I make a point to send a “thinking of you” card to maintain these lines of communication. As a HECM originator, I serve as a guide and an advocate for clients new and old, working every day to accomplish this mission with integrity, loyalty, diligence and compassion.