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Reverse Mortgage Basics

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The first reverse mortgage was originated in 1961 by a private savings and loan in Portland, Maine. Other private banks and lending institutions began offering their own version of a reverse mortgage throughout the 1970’s until 1987 when, after years of committee meetings, commissioning of reports, and debate, Congress passed an insurance bill that allowed the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee reverse mortgages. In 1988, then President Ronald Reagan signed the reverse mortgage bill into law, and the next year FHA insured its first reverse mortgage.

As of today, over 90% of all reverse mortgages in the country are insured and guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States government through its insurance fund managed.

Despite economic upheaval over the years, reverse mortgages have continued to grow as a safe, government-insured program allowing those over 62 years of age to access the equity in their homes while never making a mortgage payment.