The indefatigable work of Beth Paterson brought to center stage how well meaning legislators, wanting to protect seniors, from certain perceived evils indigenous to the reverse mortgage industry, can still get it oh so wrong.
Her passion for helping seniors aided the governor to see the perceived evils in this legislation. At the end of the day, it is the industry’s caring professionals that made the difference. While NRMLA did what the industry would expect, it was the ubiquitous presence of people like Beth that tipped the scales. She in depth critique dissected each part of this bill. It provided the answers that will ultimately transmute a bad bill into a good bill.
I suppose that the one prominent thing that tipped the scales for the legislators was the unwavering support of the venerable AARP. And they too got it wrong.
The bottom line result of this legislation would have been to emasculate the reverse mortgage industry and drive it out of the state of Minnesota. Requiring a 10 day waiting period after closing when federal law already requires a 3 day waiting period is not workable. Increasing the waiting period is like adding more people to solve a problem. The fact that there are more people never works. A longer waiting period will not make seniors smarter or allow them to make a wiser decision. The suitability requirements and counseling constraints were equally burdensome.
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a mere five letters. And the results of efforts culminating in the latter are quite significant. Clearly, Beth went the extra mile. Beth found out, as everyone who goes that extra mile does, that there is very little traffic at that point. When she found out about the proposed law, she initiated immediate action. She studied the bill and did a point by point examination. Paradoxically, she was determined to really protect seniors even though that was the job of the legislature.
Listen, I do not fault the legislature. Understanding reverse mortgages and crafting appropriate legislation is a Herculean task. Accordingly, this bill merely showed the ignorance of the legislature. The lawmakers were also concerned with many other pieces of different legislation. Will Rogers once said, “All of us are ignorant- Just on different subjects”.
Now that the governor has vetoed this bill, Minnesota will be able to craft a law that makes sense and really protects its seniors.