According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the number of reverse mortgage loans is projected to exceed a record 110,000 this year. Nationally lenders originated 76,351 government-insured reverse loans in 2007, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. But that’s just a small portion of the market. The National Council on Aging estimates that 13.2 million senior households are qualified for the loans, with each household eligible to borrow an average of $72,128.

With millions more Americans expected to retire in the coming years, banks and other lending companies are positioning themselves to capitalize on the market for reverse mortgages. In 2007 Wells Fargo stepped up their efforts to grab a market share by generating 23,271 reverse mortgage loans last year.

One of the great advantages reverse mortgages have for consumers is that they are “no-recourse loans.” In other words the lender cannot force borrowers or heirs to repay the loan. They can only take possession of the home once the borrower moves, dies or they can seize the proceeds from the sell of the home.