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Record Reverse Originations

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Despite a decline in overall mortgage originations, reverse mortgage production increased last year.

A record 108,287 home equity conversion mortgages were endorsed last year, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association reported today. The level of activity in 2007 was a 26.5 percent increase over 2006 and an all-time record.

“In addition to HECM growth, a record number of new proprietary reverse mortgage products were rolled out in ’07 and are beginning to gain market share,” NRMLA President Peter Bell said in the statement.

Reverse activity contrasts that of the overall mortgage market, which is expected to fall to $1.88 trillion next year from $2.34 trillion last year and around $2.51 trillion in 2006, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The trade group said 786 new reverse lenders entered the market last year, bringing the total number of reverse lenders to 1,674.

Wells Fargo NA was the biggest reverse lender in 2007, followed by Financial Freedom and Bank of America NA, according to the report. The 10 biggest lenders generated 43 percent of reverse loans last year.

The mix of borrowers was 37 percent couples, 45 percent single women and 18 percent single males, NRMLA said.

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