Reverse Mortgage

RMF Expands Reverse Mortgage Originations to Hawaii, Opens Workplace in Honolulu


Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF) has expanded its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and proprietary reverse mortgage offerings to the state of Hawaii, allowing RMF to serve clients in all 50 states. On the wholesale and correspondent side, the RMF’s affiliated credit business can now also buy credit within the state.

While the lender has been buying and servicing reverse mortgages in Hawaii for some time, this move gives RMF the ability to extend and underwrite its own loans within the state. Hawaiian law requires a mortgage lender to be physically present in order to be approved for a mortgage license and to offer such products to residents.

As a result, the company has established a physical location in the state to receive its new license and will be able to offer the full range of reverse mortgage products, both proprietary and supported by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). .

Why Hawaii goes well with RMF

Several favorable factors will allow Hawaii to be a good match for RMF and have prompted the move, according to Percy Ihara, a reverse mortgage specialist for the company who will lead its newly opened office in Honolulu, Oahu.

Percy Ihara

“The average value of single family homes in Hawaii is nearly $ 1 million and the average value of condos is around $ 445,000,” Ihara told RMD. “Also, Hawaii has the most senior citizens per capita in the US and ranks first in the nation for life expectancy with an average age of 81.3 years.”

Additionally, Hawaii is also home to an older workforce, a cohort that may be looking for options to age on the spot while they may still be working, explains Ihara.

“Hawaii is also among the front runners in the proportion of employed adults aged 55 and over, which means that for those seniors who still want (or need) to work, the options are likely to be plentiful,” he says.

This latest development is the culmination of much dedicated work the company has been planning for some time, according to Mark O’Neil, national wholesale sales director and correspondent for RMF.

“RMF has been buying closed-end loans from Hawaii for years,” O’Neil told RMD. “The plan was always to go to Hawaii for the brokerage and P / A business as soon as we could hire the staff. We found the right person in Percy and are proud to finally be approved in all 50 states. “

What this extension means

For RMF, the ability to now sell its products in all 50 states is a major achievement that will only help increase the visibility and availability of reverse mortgages and give Hawaiian homeowners additional opportunities to use the equity they have built to use over the years in their homes. That’s what David Peskin, President of RMF says.

“The expansion into Hawaii is a milestone. We can now do business in all 50 states and help more seniors live comfortably and confidently in the homes they love, ”Peskin said in an expansion announcement. “Hawaii is a particularly attractive state for retirees. With 19% of the population aged 65 or older and an average home value of over $ 600,000, many homeowners are considering a reverse mortgage to meet their retirement needs. “

As the main point of contact for the lender in Hawaii, Ihara has also been the editor and editor of Generations Magazine since 2010. He is also the host of Generations Radio Podcasts, a weekly series on age and senior issues. Ihara has nearly 20 years of experience in the reverse mortgage industry and says he believes in the product’s capabilities to age certain seniors on the spot.

“RMF has opened an office in Honolulu, led by Percy Ihara. Percy is a fantastic person for RMF, with his extensive industry and product knowledge and experience helping seniors age comfortably, ”said Richard Thorpe, RMF’s national sales director for distributed retail. “Percy will cover all of the Hawaiian Islands in the short term from this location, and our long-term plan is to increase the sales force over the next year. We are pleased to be able to offer our brokers, who cover Hawaii, the opportunity to offer not only RMF HECM, but Equity Elite as well. “

The uniqueness of the state

According to the real estate value index curated by Zillow, homes in the state of Hawaii are typically valued at over $ 718,000, and the average home value in the area has increased about 8.3% over the past 12 months. 2019 estimates put Hawaii’s population at just over 1.4 million, of which around 270,000 are over 65, according to the US Census Bureau.

According to an earlier contact by RMD about the reverse mortgage business in the state of Hawaii, the state has unique features not common in other states in the country. Only some of these, according to an area inventor, include ohana units – or a second home that is allowed on a property where the zoning normally only allows one home.

Other unique components found in Hawaii include single-family homes in condominiums and lava flow hazard zones found on “the Big Island” of Hawaii itself. Multi-generational housing may also be common, sometimes in ohana units to help cover costs for specific families.

These and other unique properties related to geographic, topographical, and residential values ​​can be challenging, but Ihara is confident that he can handle them as he already has experience dealing with these and other difficulties.

“Hawaii is unique from any other state,” Ihara told RMD. “The neighboring islands have their own building codes and restrictions, such as the active Kilauea volcano, where catchment and sewage treatment plants are more common. Appraisers live on every island, although appraisal times have slowed due to the current influx of sales and refinancing. With over 31 years of credit experience, knowledge and local contacts in the valuation and banking industry, I have taken out loans on all islands and have experience with most types of construction on all islands. “

Ihara will serve the entire state from its headquarters in Honolulu, which the widespread availability of information and communication technology makes it much easier to do. However, that does not mean that hiring specialists for each of the islands is excluded.

“Given the technology boom with more and more people working remotely, we can currently serve all islands from one office,” Ihara told RMD. “I fly and will fly to every island; However, I see a reverse mortgage specialist for each island going forward.