Lori Trawinski is a senior strategic policy advisor on the Consumer and State Affairs Team in the AARP Public Policy Institute. She is responsible for research and analyses of policy issues relating to mortgage lending, reverse mortgages, housing finance reform, foreclosures, financial services, consumer debt and banking.

New Small-Business Data: Strong Showing From 55+ Entrepreneurs

There’s good news for both observers of small-business trends and those interested in aging issues. Tracking entrepreneurship just got easier, and new data show that entrepreneurs age 55-plus are job creators. Small businesses play a major role in the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses accounted for 63 percent of net new jobs over the past two decades. Approximately 20 percent of those businesses were classified as employers, meaning they had paid employees. New survey …

Six Ways to Improve the HECM Reverse Mortgage Program

At a recent Senate hearing on reverse mortgages, AARP testified and suggested recommendations for improving the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage program.  These changes would enhance consumer protections and increase the fiscal stability of the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.     1.    Implement changes to strengthen the HECM program including: financial assessments, tax and insurance set-asides, and limitation of upfront draws for certain purposes though public rulemaking. Changes are needed to enhance the HECM program’s long-term …

HECM Program Changes: An Emergency or an Excuse?

Changes are likely coming to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage program. Proposed changes include the long-awaited and first-ever financial assessment of potential borrowers. At a recent reverse mortgage industry event, an official from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) referred to this change as a “financial and credit assessment.” So, it appears that HUD may be considering credit scores in determining whether the HECM is a viable option for a …