The Department of Housing and Urban Development reminded housing counselors this week that the Reverse Mortgage Analyst (RMA) software has a new feature that allows them to create and track client responses to the required questions asked during counseling sessions.
Based on current usage reports, HUD said only 11% of counseling agencies have utilized the feature since its inception on December 3, 2015. The questions posed by counselors throughout the counseling session are designed to confirm that the prospective borrower comprehends the basic features of reverse mortgages and their responsibilities once the loan closes. The software modification allows agencies to track overall responses to the questions that must be asked of prospective HECM borrowers by counselors, and analyze those responses to determine potential areas for improvement for future counseling sessions. HUD also analyzes the responses to determine where additional HECM counselor training may be needed.
Counseling agencies may store client responses electronically or print out the responses to create a paper record. HUD said counseling agencies are strongly encouraged to use the RMA tracking feature to ensure HECM client files meet the requirements of HUD Handbook 7610.1 REV-5, Chapter 5-7 and Appendix 4, Attachment 3. As part of OHC performance reviews, responses by HECM counseling clients for the required 10 questions must be documented and available for reviewers.
HECM counselors are required to use the RMA software, which includes its respective features, including the 10-question feature, for all counseling sessions. In addition, the use of the Financial Interview Tool (FIT) for all clients and Benefits CheckUp (BCU), for clients at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty level. In addition, agencies are encouraged to consider using BCU for all clients regardless of income level, as it may demonstrate benefits they are eligible to receive. Any questions regarding this guidance may be directed to Housing.Counseling@hud.gov.