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—It discloses projected future values of alternative option combinations. A senior selecting among different option combinations might want to know how each is likely to affect their HECM status in the future: loan balance, equity remaining, unused credit line, and potential conversion options. A kosher HECM system provides such information.

—It offers seniors choices between upfront charges and interest rates. Seniors who don’t expect to have their HECM very long can opt for low settlement costs in exchange for paying a higher interest rate.

—It generates competitive prices. The system includes an online network where kosher loan advisors representing different lenders post their prices using a uniform format, which makes it easy for seniors to find the best deal.

Kosher HECM Reverse Mortgages
It follows that a kosher HECM reverse mortgage has the following features:

—There are no unanticipated surprises down the road that would make the senior regret taking a HECM.

—The set of options for drawing funds is the best of those available to the senior.

—The combination of interest rate and upfront settlement costs is also the best available, given the senior’s expected future tenure.

—Price quotes are competitive, reflecting offerings of multiple loan providers.

—The final price set on the lock date is immune to manipulation.

I have it on reliable authority that at least one kosher HECM system with kosher loan advisors will appear in 2014.

Jack Guttentag is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Comments and questions can be left at

©2014 Jack Guttentag
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