WASHINGTON — Regulators Monday released final guidance for banks on reverse mortgage products to help protect consumers.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council put out the information to guide lenders on the risks on reverse mortgage lending, which homeowners can use to tap into the equity of the house while living there. The mortgages, available to homeowners aged 62 and older, are expected to become more popular as the population ages.

"Reverse mortgages present substantial risks both to institutions and to consumers, and, as with any type of loan that is secured by a consumer's home, it is crucial that consumers understand the terms of the product and the nature of their obligations," the regulatory council said in the final guidance, scheduled to take effect in 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Banks, thrifts and credit unions need to give consumers clear information on risks and benefits of reverse mortgage products, it said.

The guidance also calls for institutions to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest and to ensure consumers receive independent counseling.

The six members of the FFIEC are the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of Thrift Supervision, the National Credit Union Administration, and the State Liaison Committee of the FFIEC.

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