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 WASHINGTON, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- ULLICO Inc., a Washington financial institution, and Freedom Home Equity Partners, an Irvine, Calif.-based company, announced the formation of a joint venture to provide an innovative home-equity conversion program to America's senior-citizen homeowners. ULLICO Inc. is a labor-owned corporation, dedicated to providing quality insurance and investment products to unions and their members.
 Robert A. Georgine, chairman and chief executive officer of ULLICO, announced the program, saying that "with the Freedom program, ULLICO will offer the first product of its kind in the United States, one that provides seniors with the opportunity to greatly enhance their lives by utilizing the equity they have in their homes, as well as providing them with complete mobility without interrupting their income stream.
 "The American labor movement has always been dedicated to making life better for its members," Georgine continued, noting that the product, available to the general public, will be marketed primarily to active and retired union members and their families. "Freedom will allow this country's retired workers to utilize what they have worked so hard to attain -- their homes -- to increase their financial security just when they need it most."
 ULLICO and Freedom will provide this new form of financing, which differs from reverse mortgages now offered. The home equity conversion product will be marketed under the Freedom name.
 "This product uniquely solves the problems associated with traditional reverse mortgages," said Michael R. Steed, ULLICO's senior vice president for investments. "Seniors will be able to receive uninterrupted lifetime monthly payments that will continue even after they leave their homes. Now, under the Freedom program, seniors will no longer be prisoners in their own homes and will have the comfort of knowing that they will have the opportunity to turn their equity into a guaranteed lifetime income stream."
 The Freedom program differs from other equity conversion programs in many respects, primarily by offering lifetime monthly payments, thereby allowing seniors to leave their homes at any time, whether by choice or necessity. "We have gone to great lengths to ensure that the borrower -- the consumer -- is protected in the short and long term," added Steed. A rebate provision, designed to ensure fairness in the event that a borrower dies or is forced to move out of the home within the first four years after the transaction, is built into the loan program. Other consumer protections of the program include a thorough counseling program and preservation of at least 25 percent of the equity in the home by the borrower.
 Steed said that the program will be introduced in California and then expand nationwide. "We've got a unique opportunity to meet one of ULLICO's stated goals -- serving the needs of working men and women and their families -- by offering a much needed product to this country's most rapidly expanding age group, while still being able to offer institutional investors a solid rate of return."
 Inquiries by interested homeowners in California may be made by calling Freedom's toll-free information line -- 800-6-FREEDOM (800-637-3336).
 -0- 6/14/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Bevis, 202-223-8700, or Michael R. Steed, 202-962-8459, both for ULLICO/

CO: ULLICO Inc.; Freedom Home Equity Partners ST: District of Columbia, California IN: FIN SU: JVN

TW-MH -- DC009 -- 1510 06/14/93 10:15 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 14, 1993
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