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New CEO at Reverse Lender

Record fundings, new CEO at Financial Freedom

February 7, 2007

By MortgageDaily.com staff

An IndyMac Bank executive has taken the reigns at subsidiary Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corp. -- which reported record production.

Michelle Minier, an 11-year veteran of IndyMac, has assumed full CEO duties at the reverse lender, according to an announcement today.

Minier has been sharing co-CEO responsibilities since July 2006 with Jim Mahoney, who will stay on as chairman of the board, and will focus on continuing to aggressively grow and expand the reverse mortgage market, as well as build the internal infrastructure for greater scalability and efficiency, Financial Freedom said.

Financial Freedom is already the nation's largest lender of reverse mortgages and has been for the last decade, according to the announcement. It continues to maintain a market share of over 50 percent and expects the reverse market to keep growing.

In 2006, the unit reportedly closed $4.9 billion in reverse loan volume -- 69 percent above the volume in the prior year.

Last year's originations consisted of 48,704 reverse loans, a company and industry record, climbing 57 percent above its previous year's milestone of 30,995 loans, the announcement said.

The volume was comprised mainly of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and the Financial Freedom Cash Account, the "first ever jumbo reverse mortgage designed for homes in excess of $450,000 in value."

For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2006, the industry originated 76,351 Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, compared to 43,131 a year earlier, according to the announcement.

"The home is a significant asset and more consumers are continuing to recognize that through a reverse mortgage, the home can play an important role in funding retirement alongside 401(k) plans, pensions and personal savings," Mahoney said in the written statement. "Since reverse mortgages provide a new option for seniors facing all types of financial challenges from health care costs to longer life spans, we expect the industry to continue its impressive growth and for reverse mortgages to become a standard part of the retirement planning discussion."

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