The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association says originations of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (the Federal Housing Administration-insured reverse mortgage product) were up 76% between October 2003 and January 2004 when compared with those of the previous year.NRMLA, citing statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said HECM production totaled 8,700 loans so far in the federal fiscal year, compared with 4,948 for the year before. Consumer awareness of reverse mortgages, and senior citizens' increasingly tight budgets, are responsible for the surge, NRMLA officials said. "While some signs suggest a recovering economy, many retirees are still struggling day-to-day to live comfortably or to make ends meet," said NRMLA president Peter Bell. "As a result of this, more and more older Americans are turning to reverse mortgages as the solution to their financial needs." The 10 HUD field offices where the highest numbers of HECM loans were originated in the first four months of the federal fiscal year are: Los Angeles; Santa Ana, Calif.; San Francisco; Denver; New York; San Diego; Detroit; Boston; Coral Gables, Fla. (a suburb of Miami); and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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