WASHINGTON (12/18/09)--The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) in proposed guidance released this week advised credit unions and other financial institutions to “provide adequate information” and “qualified independent counseling” for consumers that opt to take part in reverse mortgage products. Specifically, the FFIEC recommended that “consumers be provided clear and balanced information about the relative benefits and risks of reverse mortgage products” and encouraged financial institutions to “inform borrowers about reverse mortgage alternatives that they already offer.” The counseling provided to consumers should “cover the potential consequences of entering into these transactions, such as the potential effect on eligibility for needs-based public benefits,” the FFIEC added. Credit unions and other financial institutions should also “avoid potential conflicts of interest,” the FFIEC recommended. The guidance also addresses “related policies, procedures, and internal controls and third party risk management.” Comments on the proposed guidance must be received 60 days from publication in the Federal Register. For the full FFIEC guidance, as published in the Federal Register, use the resource link.