RM PR: The more people learn, the less cynical they become

Last week, I was chatting with my neighbor when he looked at me seriously and asked, “What’s the deal with reverse mortgages? Are they a scam?” Suddenly I was standing on the sidewalk listing the benefits of these loans that have helped so many seniors enjoy their retirement while living in their own home.

His response?

“I always figured I’d eventually leave my house to my daughter, but this is something worth considering. Thanks.”

I’m willing to bet that every person in our industry has had a similar conversation with their neighbors, friends, or family members at least once since they became associated with reverse mortgages. Fortunately, the more people understand about reverse mortgages, the less cynical they become about their usefulness.

It’s this perfectly indirect correlation that drew me to the public relations job opening at NRMLA where the goal is clear: improve the reputation of the industry by educating more people about the product.

Soon after I accepted the job, I was presented with NRMLA’s 2015-16 PR Plan, which had been approved by the Board of Directors and outlines a healthy framework for our external communications efforts. From the moment I set foot in the Washington office, I was on a path to implement the plan.

With the theme of “Help More People,” NRMLA is working to promote the benefits, safety, and efficacy of reverse mortgages to the media, consumers, and professionals who work with potential borrowers, such as financial planners, elder law attorneys, and Realtors®. We’ll take a number of different approaches to reach these audiences, with the most comprehensive being our Reverse Mortgage Education Week to run in April 2016. Information about Education Week and ways to get involved will be posted to NRMLA’s LinkedIn Group.

NRMLA’s PR Committee is also working to develop fact sheets and talking points that can help dispel common myths about reverse mortgages. We’ll use these myth-busting tools in response to inaccurate media coverage and make them available on our member site, NRMLAonline.org, and our consumer site Reversemortgage.org.

While no outreach can take the place of informative one-on-one conversations with potential borrowers, NRMLA is committed to strategically disseminating positive messages about the usefulness of reverse mortgages for older adults as they plan for and enjoy their retirement years.

(Note: The following was written by Jenny Werwa, Director of Public Relations.)