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Reverse Mortgages Still Lack Wide Acceptance

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About 49% of older consumers have a favorable view of reverse mortgages, yet many more remain skeptical about these types of loans, have not heard of them or feel they do not know much about them.

Researchers at Financial Freedom, a reverse-lending unit of IndyMac Bank F.S.B., Irvine, Calif., found when they commissioned a survey of about 1,100 people ages 62 to 75 that 40% said they have heard, read or seen some information about reverse mortgages. This is about the same percentage as in 2006.

Among those who reported having a favorable opinion about reverse mortgages, 15% said reverse mortgages are a credible financial tool, 14% said reverse mortgages are a good idea for low-income households, and 4% said they would recommend reverse mortgages to a family member.

But 54% said they have not heard, seen or read anything about reverse mortgages or considered taking out a reverse mortgage in the last year. Also, 24% said they have a unfavorable opinion of reverse mortgages, and 44% said they have heard of reverse mortgages but do not know enough about the product to offer an opinion.