‘The mortgage professor’ Jack Guttentag dies peacefully at 100

Jack Guttentag

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Jack Guttentag — an economist, professor of finance and consumer advocate better known to his many readers over the years as “the mortgage professor” — has died at the age of 100.

A former Inman contributor, Guttentag “remained sharp to the end” and continued researching and writing about mortgages until passing away peacefully on Feb. 6, his longtime friend and colleague Allan Redstone told the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Guttentag joined the faculty at the Wharton School in 1962, after serving in the Army as an artillery spotter in World War II, earning a master’s and doctorate in economics at Columbia University, and serving as chief of the domestic research division at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Upon retiring from the Wharton School after more than three decades of teaching, Guttentag launched a second career as the mortgage professor, which included a nationally syndicated newspaper column, a website, and the Upfront Mortgage Brokers Association — a nonprofit organization that connected consumers to mortgage brokers who agreed to be transparent about their fees, and act in the best interests of the borrower.

In addition to writing his newspaper column and articles for his Mortgage Professor website, Guttentag was the managing editor of the Journal of Finance in the 1970s and Housing Finance Review in the 1980s, and the author of The Pocket Mortgage Guide and The Mortgage Encyclopedia.

While still a faculty member at Wharton, in 1985 he formed GHR Systems Inc. with colleague Gerald Hurst , a nationwide electronic network that lenders use to deliver complex mortgage information to loan officers and consumers.

He also served as a consultant to government agencies and private financial institutions including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USAID, Freddie Mac, Citicorp, Dominion Bancshares, the World Bank and J.P. Morgan Securities.

Guttentag’s interest in reverse mortgages as a resource for seniors led him to team with Redstone to develop a Retirement Funds Integrator that went live in 2021, a tool designed to help retirees combine three sources of retirement income: equities, annuities and HECM reverse mortgages

“He was scrupulously honest and had the highest level of integrity of any person I ever met,” Redstone told The Wharton School. “If he thought a policy issue was detrimental, he was completely unabashed about laying it out there. He developed what he thought was the right answer, and he would doggedly pursue it.”

Guttentag is survived by sons Adam, a radiologist and professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Bill, a film director and lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business; their spouses, grandchildren and a great-grandson. He was preceded in death by his wife Doris Guttentag, who died in 2017 at the age of 90.

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