WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development's FHA program will begin insuring reverse mortgages originated in Texas, said William C. Apgar, federal housing commissioner.A reverse mortgage is a type of home equity loan geared to the elderly. It enables homeowners to convert their equity into cash. Repayment is generally due when the borrower dies or moves out of the home.

In November, Texas voters approved a referendum that clarified rules for reverse lending in the state. HUD's blessing clears one of the last hurdles for the Texas market, which has an estimated potential size of $12.5 billion.

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