A reverse mortgage can add stability to your retirement years when used correctly, and selecting the right reverse mortgage company to originate your loan is essential.  We created this guide to provide insight into how HECM lenders are rated and how reviews are collected across the web (independent and sponsored review sites).

We want to make things easier for you.  That’s why we have compiled a list of the top 20 reverse mortgage companies nationwide.  What’s more, we have included 5 essential tips for choosing the right reverse mortgage lender in this guide.

These tips will help you pick the right reverse mortgage lender that meets your financial needs and goals.

National Rankings of Top 20 Reverse Mortgage Lenders

LenderRatingYears in BusinessStars (0-5)Good Review %ComplaintsBBB Review
All Reverse Mortgage, Inc. (ARLO)A+194.9/599%0Source
Advisors Mortgage GroupA+241.6/533%5Source
American Advisors Group (AAG)A194.7/594%79Source
American Pacific MortgageF271.5/530%15Source
Ennkar Inc.A+133.6/573%3Source
Fairway Independent MortgageA+274.9/598%44Source
Finance of America Reverse LLC (FAR)A+201.5/530%19Source
GoodLife Home LoansA+114.4/588%1Source
Guild Mortgage Company (Formerly Cherry Creek LLC)A+631.3/526%49Source
HighTechLending IncNR153.0/560%1Source
Liberty Home Equity Solutions Inc.A+201.0/520%3Source
Longbridge Financial LLCA+113.9/579%16Source
Mid America Mortgage Inc.NR653.0/560%0Source
MoneyhouseA+NANANA0Source
Movement Mortgage, LLCA+164.7/595%110Source
Mutual of Omaha MortgageA+104.8/596%60Source
Open Mortgage LLCA+202.8/556%1Source
Plaza Home Mortgage IncA+231.9/524%27Source
Smartfi Home LoansA+4NANA0Source
South River Mortgage, LLCA+42.3/546%14Source
Top 20 HECM lenders reported by https://www.rminsight.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Lenders_202309.pdf. (Reviews Updated: 02/22/2024)

Breakdown of the information presented in the chart:

Company: Names of the top 20 reverse mortgage lending companies.

Rating: Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, which ranges from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).  Most companies have an A+ rating, indicating high standards of business practices.

Years in Business: This column shows the years each company has been operating.  It ranges from 4 years to 64 years, indicating both new and well-established companies.

Stars (0-5): This is the average customer rating for each company on a scale from 0 to 5.  Ratings vary significantly, with some companies having nearly perfect scores and others as low as 1.0/5.

Good Review %: Indicates the percentage of positive reviews each company has received.  This percentage varies widely, from as low as 20% to as high as 99%.

Complaints: The number of complaints filed against each company.  The range is from 0 to 109, showing a varied customer satisfaction level.

BBB Review: Links to the BBB reviews of each company, offering a source for more detailed information on customer experiences.

5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Reverse Mortgage Lender

ARLO presents top 5 reverse mortgage lender tips

1.  Choose a Lender Who Has Your Best Interests at Heart

When getting a reverse mortgage, working with a lender who really cares about you is important.  Sometimes, we focus too much on one small thing, like a fee that’s a bit cheaper, and miss the bigger picture.

For example, you might choose a lender because they have a lower appraisal fee, saving you $100.  But, this same lender might offer you less money overall or have a higher interest rate.  This could mean getting thousands of dollars less or paying a lot more in interest over time.

It’s important to look at everything involved in the reverse mortgage, not just one small part.  Ensure you understand all the details to make the best choice for yourself.

2.  Be Careful with Online Reviews

Reading what other customers say about reverse mortgage lenders online is a good idea.  But be cautious about where these reviews come from.  Some websites that help find customers for these companies might not have honest reviews, as money can influence them.

Instead, look for reviews on reliable sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Google Ratings.  Real customers write reviews on these sites and can’t be changed by the lenders.

Pay attention to any issues that keep coming up in the reviews.  If you see the same problems mentioned over and over, it’s best to avoid those lenders.  Remember, this loan is for your benefit, not the lender’s.  The best reverse mortgage for you is one that fits your specific situation.

What works for some might not be right for you.  At All Reverse Mortgage, Inc., our goal is to give you all the information you need to make a choice that truly fits your needs rather than just selling you a loan.

3.  Look at All Loan Details, Especially Lender Margin and Closing Costs

When considering a reverse mortgage, it’s important to compare all the parts of the loan, not just the fees.  By law, lenders can’t add extra charges to 3rd party fees such as appraisals, title fees, and credit reports.  Lenders can only charge what those services actually cost.

One thing you should really pay attention to is the lender margin.  A higher lender margin means you could end up paying a lot more in interest over the years.  It also means you might get less money from the loan to start with.

Here’s something else to consider: the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP) is usually 2.0% of your home’s value, up to a maximum home value of $1,149,825.  So, the highest UFMIP could be as much as $21,786.  Some loan options might let the lender cover some or all of this cost for you, which can save you money upfront.

That’s why it’s important to compare different loans and see which is the best for your situation.  Don’t just look at the fees; consider how the loan’s terms could affect how much money you get and how much interest you’ll pay over time.

4.  Make Sure Your Lender is Approved by HUD

It’s very important to check that the company providing you with a reverse mortgage is approved by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).  You can visit HUD’s website and use their Lender List Search to do this.

Here’s how to do it:

Type in your lender’s name.  Before you search, make sure to check the box that says “Reverse Mortgages through FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM).” This will help you determine if your lender is officially approved to offer reverse mortgages.  It’s a simple step, but it’s a very important one to make sure your reverse mortgage originator is HUD-approved.

HUD approved reverse mortgage lender search

5.  Be Careful with Companies Having Their Own Appraisal Services

It’s important to avoid companies that use their own appraisal services.  Our company does not use Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) owned by just one lender.

Here’s why this matters:

  • Avoid Being Locked In: Some lenders have their own AMCs and don’t share their appraisals with other lenders.  This can trap you with your original lender.  If you find a better deal with another lender later on, you might be unable to switch because the AMC won’t transfer the appraisal.
  • Limited Choices: This situation can leave you with two not-so-great choices.  You might have to pay for a new appraisal (and wait for the original one to expire) or stick with your original lender, even if another offers a much better deal.

To avoid these problems:

  • Do Your Research: Before starting, get detailed quotes and compare them.
  • Check Credentials: Make sure the loan officer and the company are properly qualified.

You don’t want to find out too late that you could have had a better deal, but now you’re stuck because the lender won’t let you transfer your appraisal to another company.

Top FAQs

Q.

What banks do reverse mortgages?

Most major banks exited the reverse mortgage industry several years ago, leaving non-bank lenders, brokers, small banks, and credit unions as the remaining lending sources.  While most reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and adhere to the same rules, each lending institution offers its own margins and interest rates.
Q.

Who is the highest-rated reverse mortgage company?

To find the best-rated reverse mortgage provider, you must do a little research and ignore some of the paid advertisements you will find in many search results.  Very few websites nowadays offer legitimate, non-sponsored reviews.  Look to independent websites that do not accept monetary incentives for sponsored reviews, such as the Better Business Bureau, Google, and Yelp.
Q.

Does HUD offer reverse mortgages?

HUD does not originate loans but approves lenders to create the federally insured HECM loan.  HUD’s role in the reverse mortgage industry is to insure against a lender’s loss by collecting upfront mortgage insurance premiums.  The HUD MIP fund makes reverse mortgages possible and guarantees many of its features and safeguards.
Q.

Are all reverse mortgage companies the same?

No!  Every reverse mortgage company operates independently of the government.  HUD is behind the reverse mortgage and underwriting guidelines but is not involved in origination.  Make sure the lender you are working with is approved by HUD, a member of NRMLA, and don’t forget to compare rates and fees with multiple sources.
Q.

How do I know I’m getting the best reverse mortgage?

This is a great question, as the answer varies based on individual circumstances.  You’ll know you’re getting the best reverse mortgage when it aligns perfectly with your specific needs, which can differ widely among individuals.  For some, maintaining as much equity as possible is key.  Others prioritize receiving the maximum amount of money upfront.  There are also those who wish for their line of credit to increase quickly, providing more funds in the future—this usually means choosing a lower initial withdrawal with a higher interest rate for greater growth.  Certain individuals need many fees covered because they must pay off an existing loan and have limited funds for closing costs or initial out-of-pocket expenses.  Thus, “the best” reverse mortgage deal depends on the borrower’s unique requirements.  Borrowers should first identify their immediate needs and then consider how the loan’s terms will impact them in the long run.  Essential documents for comparison include the Amortization Schedule, the Estimate of Closing Costs, and the Loan Comparison.  Be wary of lenders unwilling to provide these documents in writing before application.  Compare initial and ongoing costs, interest accrual, and available funds across options.  Watch out for offers that seem attractive by reducing one fee while inflating others, such as a below-market appraisal fee offset by higher origination fees and interest rates.  Many borrowers have regretted choosing a lender for a slightly lower upfront cost, only to face much higher closing costs and interest expenses.  Review lender reviews on reputable, unbiased sites like the Better Business Bureau and Google Reviews.  Be skeptical of reviews from sources paid by the companies they’re reviewing.  We strive to provide excellent service, but exploring and inquiring is crucial to ensure you get the best deal.
Q.

How do reverse mortgage lenders determine the interest rates?

Lenders set reverse mortgage interest rates based on their operational costs and desired profit margins.  That’s why it’s crucial not to rush into accepting the first offer or choose a higher rate simply because of a commercial or mailer.  Doing thorough research is essential to secure the best rate and terms that suit your needs rather than the lenders.  We take pride in our competitive rates.  According to the HUD website, which lists the loans they insured last year, our rates are among the lowest compared to other lenders.  This data is not self-promotion but reflects HUD’s records of actual loans, allowing you to see which companies offered the lowest average rates to borrowers throughout the year.  In searching for the best proposal, we recommend checking the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website for lender ratings.  Unlike many other rating sites that might be biased or influenced by lenders, the BBB provides customer-driven ratings that lenders cannot manipulate.  This information lets you decide on the reverse mortgage program and lender that best meets your needs.
Q.

Who lends the actual money on a reverse mortgage?

Reverse mortgage lending operates similarly to traditional mortgage lending.  Lenders use warehouse lines of credit to fund loans.  HUD then insures these loans, pooled together, and sold as securities in the secondary market.  The era when banks funded mortgages solely with their depositors’ funds and ceased lending once they were depleted was over.  Reverse mortgage loans may be insured by the government or backed by private investors.  The majority of these loans are HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), which are government-insured.  GNMA (Ginnie Mae) then packages and securitizes these loans and sells them as securities.  Bundling and selling loans provides lenders with the necessary liquidity to continue lending.
Q.

Which reverse mortgage companies have the lowest closing costs?

Closing costs depend on several factors, including interest rates, loan programs, and lenders.  It’s important to compare the entire proposal because low closing costs might not be beneficial if they result in a higher margin, leading to fewer loan proceeds and significantly higher interest payments over the loan’s life.  I’d like to mention that we’re a lender worth considering for a comprehensive package of rates and fees.  I encourage you to compare our online calculator with other lenders to see if our fee options are competitive.  We strongly advocate for borrowers to make comparisons.  Since interest rates and fees can change, don’t just take our word for it.  Look at the actual numbers and decide what’s best for your situation.
Q.

Can a reverse mortgage lender change without the homeowner’s knowledge?

Yes, a reverse mortgage lienholder has several options: they may sell the loan, go out of business, transfer the loan back to HUD when it reaches certain thresholds, change the loan servicer, or decide to exit the reverse mortgage servicing business due to profitability concerns.  All lenders are required by HUD to assign loans back to HUD and their servicer once the loan hits specific levels, as part of the HUD program’s parameters.  Historically, even the top originators have eventually closed or sold their servicing rights, meaning that choosing any lender for a forward or reverse loan carries the risk of the loan being sold.  Lenders who claim they never sell their servicing rights aren’t fully transparent because they don’t mention HUD’s requirements or the lending industry’s history.  However, it’s not all bad news.  The loan remains insured by HUD regardless of who services it, maintaining the same government insurance and guarantees.  While your initial lender doesn’t need your permission to sell the loan, they must notify you.  The original loan terms bind the new lender and cannot alter them.  You retain the right to sell your home or repay the loan at any time without penalty, even with a new servicer.  It’s a reality that lenders don’t hold onto loans for their entire lifespan, applicable to both reverse and standard loans.  The unchangeable aspects of your loan are those specified in your loan agreement.  Therefore, you should only accept inferior terms or tolerate poor service if you’re told your loan servicing will stay the same.  Notably, major reverse mortgage lenders like AAG, Financial Freedom, Wells Fargo, and MetLife Bank have all exited the reverse mortgage origination business in the last 10-15 years, with most selling off their servicing rights.
Q.

Can a lender lower the borrower’s benefit amount after the loan closes?

One of the key advantages of a reverse mortgage, unlike a traditional Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) from a bank, is that the lender cannot suddenly close the line or change the terms.  The loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), part of HUD, ensuring lenders can maintain the original terms for the life of the borrower(s).  However, like with any mortgage, you must meet certain conditions to remain in good standing with a reverse mortgage and continue receiving funds. These conditions are detailed in your mortgage documents and include living in the property as your primary residence, maintaining the property, and keeping up with taxes, hazard insurance, and, if applicable, association dues.  Failing to meet these obligations can lead the lender to demand repayment or temporarily stop additional draws until the issues are resolved.  But rest assured, the lender cannot change the terms of your reverse mortgage after closing, and your responsibilities outlined in the mortgage are part of those unchangeable terms.

Summary: Choosing the Right Reverse Mortgage Lender

Reverse mortgage lenders use different ways to reach out to you, like TV ads, the Internet, direct mail, and financial planners.

Here’s how to make a wise choice:

  • Look at Independent Reviews and Offers: Don’t just go by ads.  Check independent reviews and compare offers.  Lenders set their interest rates and fees, which the government doesn’t control.
  • Choose HUD-Approved Lenders: These lenders are usually direct lenders, which can save you time and money.  Working with a broker, who acts as a middleman, might lead to higher costs for your reverse mortgage.
  • Check for NRMLA Membership: Ensure the lender is a National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) member and follows its code of ethics.
  • Avoid High-Pressure Sales: Be careful of lenders who try to pressure you into making quick decisions.
  • Get Independent Counseling: It’s required for all reverse mortgages.  Counseling helps you understand your options and make sure a reverse mortgage is right for you.

Remember, it’s important to review everything carefully and consider other options before you make your final decision.

Inactive companies (Info for past customers)

Lender
Wells Fargo Reverse MortgageRead More
Bank of America Reverse MortgageRead More
Financial Freedom Reverse MortgageRead More
MetLife Reverse MortgageRead More
RMS - Reverse Mortgage Solutions Read More
LiveWell FinancialRead More
Resolute Bank Read More

How to Find the Right Reverse Mortgage Lender?

ARLO recommends these helpful resources: