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State Employees’ Credit Union Helps Seniors with New Reverse Mortgage Product

(Special thanks to SECU’s Marlon Lewis for coordinating the visit with Arabelle and conducting the interview! Arabelle’s comments will be shared with the NC Congressional Delegation prior to Hike the Hill this month.)

Like many seniors, Arabelle Plonk’s home represents her financial security blanket. The 82-year-old Plonk, who has called her North Raleigh residence “home” since 1967, watches her finances very carefully.

A friendly sort with a quick sense of humor, Plonk has had her share of challenges over the years. Her husband passed away in 1970, leaving her with three children to raise and a home to maintain.

Having navigated those waters nicely, Plonk’s senior years have brought a new set of challenges. Things like home maintenance and health care costs combined to strain her budget and add stress to her life.

Over the past few years, Reverse Mortgages have been introduced to assist seniors like Arabelle. While they can and do help, many of these products come at a steep cost – some contain incredible servicing fees and other unfriendly terms.

To help bring some sanity and fair play to this line of the mortgage market, State Employees’ Credit Union has stepped up with its own Reverse Mortgage product. Unlike other lenders, the SECU solution comes with much lower fees and a much clearer understanding of the total cost of the product.

In the above video, Arabelle Plonk talks about how SECU’s Reverse Mortgage has helped stabilize her financial situation. Plonk, who previously held a Reverse Mortgage with another lender, now has financial flexibility and peace of mind that was missing before.

Instead of worrying about the cost of her prescription medications and home maintenance, she can instead focus her attention on her weekly ballroom dance classes and occasional nights out for dinner with friends — as it should be!  

SECU has closed more than 80 Reverse Mortgages since starting the program last fall. To their credit, SECU rolled this new product out just as the credit crisis was gaining a full head of steam. It’s another example of how credit unions are trying to help people in some very tangible ways during the recession.

With the Baby Boomers beginning to retire, products like this one will become more and more important to people who, like Arabelle, wish to remain independent, financially secure – and in their homes.


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