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Home / Questions / How can I become a counselor for reverse mortgages?

If I am an MLO and licensed by the state of California and have a broker, can I be a counselor for reverse mortgages? Is it a full-time job I can apply for while I help my mortgage clients?

By Jennifer L. on 12.02.2018

Hello Jennifer,

Many counselors work their hours so that it can be a full or part-time endeavor for them, but it sounds like you might be saying that you want to be a Licensed Loan Officer and counsel your clients.  This is a different issue altogether than just full or part-time and not allowed by HUD.  HUD will not even enable originators to select or steer specific counselors to borrowers making their system one that requires originators to give borrowers a list of counselors from which they can choose, which must include nationwide and local counselors for each borrower. 

HUD wants the counseling process to be independent so that borrowers are free to receive information and ask questions of a knowledgeable individual who is not in any way interested in supplying the borrower with a loan. 

Suppose the process allowed originators to provide only counseling to their customers. In that case, HUD feels that the borrowers would only receive a partially unbiased view of the loan and its ramifications since the individual doing both the origination and the counseling may have competing interests.  Therefore, HUD requires counseling from a HUD-approved agency in the first place rather than just allowing originators to certify that they counseled their clients.

To become a HUD-approved counselor, an individual must be trained, tested, and pass background checks.  Furthermore, they must work for an approved agency to be placed on the HUD roster.  Since I am not 100% sure of your question, and there are a couple of ways to read it, I want to answer the best I can if you just stated that you wanted to train to be a counselor while still being a licensed MLO.  Because I think that would also depend on your goal (originate loans, counsel, or try to do both). 

If you are interested in reviewing the HUD process to become a HUD Certified Counselor, you can find it on HUD’s website here.  But HUD does not mention full-time, part-time, or secondary employment once you become a counselor, only the requirements for becoming a HECM Certified Counselor.  I suggest you contact an approved counseling agency and ask them about their needs. 

After all, if your goal is to work with reverse mortgage borrowers that are not your own, you can’t even get the approval with HUD without being employed by an approved agency.  It would seem that would be the best place to start.`