How much did you make last year? (That was a rhetorical question.) The president of Countrywide earned $48
million, the president of Freddie Mac $15 million, WAMU $8 million, Indy Mac $4 million.
According to Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, jobless subprime mortgage lenders are looking for employment in
the booming market for loans to senior citizens. So far the mortgage industry has lost 15,000 employees, and
obviously some will enter the growing market for reverse mortgages. Some bankers worry the market's rapid
growth may make reverse mortgages vulnerable to fraud and increased litigation, which has plagued subprime
loans. "As you look at what's going on in the subprime market, are those the types of folks who are really
appropriate for pursuing reverse mortgages?" asked Rolf Edwards, a vice president at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in
New York. The number of federally insured reverse mortgages has skyrocketed, climbing to 76,351 in 2006 from
7,781 in 2001. So-called HECM loans, or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, make up 90% of them, according
to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. In another sign of growth, Bank of America Corp. in April
said it agreed to buy the reverse mortgage business of Seattle Mortgage Co., making it the third-largest U.S.
provider. IndyMac Bancorp Inc. is the industry leader. At Wells Fargo, for example, about 700 loan officers
specialize in reverse mortgages.