May/June 2019, Volume 7 Issue 09
HECM Housing Counseling Update: FIT Tool No Longer Available
National Counsel on Aging’s Financial Interview Tool (FIT) is no longer available to assist Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Roster Counselors. HECM counselors are now prohibited from accessing FIT for purposes of providing HUD HECM counseling. HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling issued a waiver on February 28, 2019 for the policies below that require use of the tool:
- Housing Counseling Program Handbook 7610.1 REV-5, Appendix 4, section III.C, Step 2
- HECM Counseling Protocol Handbook 7610.0
- Chapter 3.1.b (HECM Counselor Checklist)
- Chapter 7-B-12 (Using Financial Interview Tool), attachment B-12
FIT helped counselors determine a borrower’s financial status when the borrower was seeking counseling on the FHA HECM Program. However, HECM Roster Counselors must continue to determine the borrower’s financial status as part of HUD’s HECM program requirements and protocol. HECM client files must contain documentation demonstrating a budgetary analysis was conducted. Specifically, client files should contain, at a minimum, documentation that demonstrates the following topics were covered during the counseling session:
- Household budgeting
- Property condition
- Current health status and medical needs
- Household composition, such as other occupants of the property
- Marital status, such as widowhood, remarriage, or divorce
The IBIS Software Solutions Reverse Mortgage Analyst online tool for analyzing loan product comparisons, financial assessment analysis, and 10-question tracking is still operational and required for all HECM counseling clients. Additionally, the publicly accessible, downloadable, and printable version of the BenefitsCheckUp remains available and should be utilized as appropriate under current HUD policies.
HECM Roster Counselors must continue to meet all other statutory and regulatory counseling requirements and policies as stated in the HUD Handbooks. HUD will continue to monitor compliance with these requirements during the agency performance reviews conducted as part of ongoing oversight activities. Effective oversight in combination with the existing HECM Financial Assessment required from lenders will allow HUD to maintain strong consumer protections.
Please refer questions to your HUD Point of Contact or email email@example.com.