Some states allow counseling on the phone and some require face to face counseling (HUD encourages face to face counseling but if the state allows counseling by telephone HUD will accept it as well) but due to the fact that the counselor must determine that they are working with the actual borrower(s) and that they understand the program as they progress, they need the personal interaction with the borrower(s).
HUD will also allow for other Mutually agreed upon formats such as live electronic dialog where the counselor and the borrower are able to see one another and speak to each other such as Skype, Webex, GoToMeeting, etc.).
I included the portion of the HUD HECM Counseling Protocol that deals with this subject below.
Methods of Delivery for Reverse Mortgage Counseling Introduction This topic contains information on the methods for delivery of counseling, including · face-to-face counseling for HECM clients · telephone counseling · emergency counseling, and · other mutually-agreed upon formats for counseling.
Face-to-face Counseling for HECM Clients HUD encourages face-to-face counseling, and certain states require face-to-face counseling for all borrowers considering reverse mortgages. Counselors who meet with clients face-to-face may be better able to assess their clients’ needs and comprehension. A counselor who is unable to meet with a client face-to-face and who instead engages in telephone counseling must be particularly sensitive to the client’s engagement in the session and understanding of the topics covered.
Telephone Counseling for HECM Clients may receive telephone counseling unless such counseling is prohibited in their state. Telephone counseling must not commence until the client has · received HUD’s required handouts listed in HECM Protocol 7.B.1, and · had adequate time to review the documents. The client may receive the required HUD handouts from a lender or from HUD. If the lender provides the handouts, a copy of the handouts must be made available to the HECM counselor. Because the counselor may have difficulty gauging the client’s engagement in the counseling session, the counselor must prompt the client for questions, concerns or points of confusion during and after the counseling session.
Methods of Delivery for Reverse Mortgage Counseling
Emergency Counseling for HECM Clients Emergency counseling is HECM counseling that occurs without the client scheduling an appointment in advance. The client may receive emergency counseling by phone or in person only if the client · is in imminent danger of losing his/her home, or · requires access to funds for impending medical treatment, and he/she is not able to access these funds without obtaining proceeds from a HECM. Required Borrower Documentation HUD requires that the borrowers provide documentation that the emergency counseling is necessary. The documentation should indicate that the client’s home is in imminent danger of being foreclosed or that the client needs impending medical treatment. Provision of Required Handouts/Materials by the Counselor HUD permits emergency counseling without a prior appointment, and recognizes that in emergency circumstances, it is unlikely that the client has received HUD’s required handouts, unless a lender has provided them previously. Unlike scheduled face-to-face or telephone counseling, counselors who are participating in emergency counseling are not required to provide relevant materials to clients prior to the counseling session, but must provide HUD’s required handouts and other resource material immediately after the session via · email · fax, or · regular mail. Reference: For a listing of HUD’s required handouts to clients,
HECM Protocol Chapter 1 1-13 3. Methods of Delivery for Reverse Mortgage Counseling, Continued PROTCL 1.3.d Other Mutually Agreed Upon Formats for Counseling Other types of mutually-agreed upon formats are acceptable for counseling. Such formats include any live electronic method of dialogue (e.g., Skype, webinar, Webex, GoToMeeting, etc.) where both the HECM counselor and client can speak to each other to ask questions and discuss the information being presented. Clients may receive counseling in a mutually-agreed upon format unless such counseling is prohibited in their state. This type of counseling must not commence until the client has · received HUD’s required handouts listed in HECM Protocol 7.B.1, and · had adequate time to review the documents. The client may receive the required HUD handouts from a lender or from HUD. If the lender provides the handouts, a copy of the handouts must be made available to the HECM counselor. Because the counselor may have difficulty gauging the client’s engagement in the counseling session, the counselor must prompt the client for questions, concerns, or points of confusion during and after the counseling session.