Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Single Family Homes Julienne Y. Joseph has made her public debut since her appointment announced from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last week, describing for reverse mortgage professionals the importance they place on the program based on their first-hand experience and a desire to work continuously with the reverse mortgage industry.
This is Joseph himself, according to DAS, speaking during a keynote session at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) summer virtual meeting on Tuesday. Unbeknownst to NRMLA President Steve Irwin and many attendees at the event prior to her speech, DAS Joseph described how in “a past life” she herself took out Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loans as an originator.
This direct product experience and early interaction with a senior couple and their families who were helped by the HECM product is what makes DAS Joseph appreciate the HECM program and its role in stabilizing retired seniors.
An early experience with HECM
Previously serving as associate director of government housing programs and membership engagement with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Joseph had prior experience working with NRMLA and its members. However, she also expressed her appreciation for the HECM product in her opening remarks, revealing that she developed HECMs herself during her tenure as a home loan lender for companies like SunTrust and First Horizon National Corporation, according to the work history on Joseph’s LinkedIn profile .
“I understand the meaning, not only as someone who has older parents, but also because I was born [reverse mortgages] me, ”said DAS Joseph to the NRMLA participants.
She then shared an experience she opened up for a scenario that illustrated how an HECM can affect the lives of seniors based on a work experience she had in the past.
“Early in my career, I heard about an African American couple who lived 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 extra boost for them Retirement Income, ”she explained. “And in order to stay in their home and continue to lead an independent, self-sufficient life, they had to find a little help.”
That help came in the form of an HECM, said Joseph, a solution that was found after an initial consultation with a housing consultant. The couple qualified for, applied for, and eventually secured the loan, and Joseph saw their lives develop after that, she explained.
“Both were able to stay at home and old age for the golden years of their lives, which is what we all strive for,” she said. “But then, when they died, the outstanding HECM balance was paid back and there was still a modest amount of equity left that was passed on to their adult children. That only makes the HECM a good option for seniors, in my opinion, who can use the equity in their homes to enable them to stay in life [those homes]. “
The illustrative scenario for current politics
Joseph then turned to current HECM affairs, describing how this scenario aligns with the leadership of the HUD and White House by using government housing programs specifically to facilitate relief to vulnerable populations, including the elderly and colored you.
“In this case there are also two of them [Biden] Main Government Objectives: The first is one of the most vulnerable populations in the country and has helped the elderly couple continue to have a home, ”she said. “Second, it allowed them to pass wealth on to their children. This is not the end. HUD continues to improve the HECM program, based in part on feedback from organizations such as [NRMLA], that helps a lot more seniors to age on the spot. “
The leadership of the HUD, including the department’s secretary Marcia Fudge, stressed that HUD programs must work both as intended and well, DAS Joseph said.
“[Our programs must remain] work efficiently and they need to work to get more home ownership for underserved groups, ”said Joseph. “This includes those who are now homeowners but would have fewer opportunities to stay in their homes without the HECM program. It is the cornerstone of the HECM program’s existence. Aging in place has become even more important over the past year as seniors try to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. There is a full-time and team focus at HUD to ensure that millions who have struggled due to COVID get the financial relief they need. “
That includes the $ 10 billion homeowner aid fund that is part of the recently passed US rescue plan of 2021 and the HUD officials beforehand 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 is focused whenever possible on preventing foreclosures on vulnerable populations, including seniors who are HECM borrowers, Joseph stated. ‘
“We are also heavily involved in helping as much as possible on our own,” she said. “And in our single-family insurance programs, under the new administration, we have expanded and expanded the mortgage facilities for both our forward mortgage program and the HECM program. The last thing any of us want is for our seniors to lose their homes because that’s devastating. We don’t want this to happen to anyone, especially our seniors during the pandemic, especially since they cannot make their tax and insurance payments. It’s not a good excuse for our seniors not to be home. “
To reaffirm the Ministry’s commitment to this mission, DAS Joseph reaffirmed the availability of various reverse mortgage relief programs to the reverse mortgage audience, including an extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured single-family mortgages for an additional period until July 31, 2021 as well as a further extension of the start dates of the original COVID-19 Forbearance and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) extension to provide additional COVID mortgage 19-Forbearance and HECM extension for specific borrowers.