Home values are soaring, and that’s making reverse mortgages more attractive to homeowners. The number of reverse mortgages issued nationwide rose to 58,810 in 2021, up 29 percent from 2020, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data show.

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners ages 62 and older – who’ve typically paid off the mortgage – to borrow part of their home’s equity as tax-free income. Unlike a standard mortgage, which is structured so that the homeowner makes payments to the lender, with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the homeowner.

Despite the constant stream of ads on cable TV, reverse mortgages remain very much a niche product, and the industry is dominated by a few players. The 10 largest reverse mortgage lenders accounted for fully 49 percent of reverse mortgages originated in 2021. These rankings are based on a Bankrate analysis of preliminary Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, with an assist from ComplianceTech’s LendingPatterns.com.

The 10 biggest reverse mortgage lenders

The 10 largest lenders by number of reverse mortgages originated last year:

  • American Advisors Group (AAG). This company originated more than 18,000 reverse mortgages worth $3.3 billion in 2021, according to HMDA data.
  • Finance of America Reverse. This company originated nearly 11,000 loans worth $4.3 billion.
  • Reverse Mortgage Funding. This lender originated more than 6,000 loans worth $2.4 billion in 2021.
  • PHH Mortgage. PHH originated 4,300 loans worth $1.2 billion last year.
  • Mutual of Omaha Mortgage. Mutual of Omaha originated 4,100 loans worth $1.3 billion.
  • Longbridge Financial. This lender originated 3,600 loans with a total value of $1.2 billion.
  • Cornerstone First Mortgage. The company originated 3,300 reverse mortgages valued at $1.4 billion.
  • Open Mortgage. This company originated 2,400 loans worth $723 million.
  • HighTechLending. This lender did 1,100 mortgages worth $431 million.
  • Nationwide Equities Corp. This lender knocked out 705 reverse mortgages with a total value of $538 million.