It’s not time to get out of the business; it’s time to get out and talk to more people

It was part pep talk, part information sharing. For almost two hours, a panel of veteran loan originators spoke to attendees of NRMLA’s 2018 Eastern Regional Meeting in New York about their experiences selling reverse mortgages in today’s market, and engaged audience members in a free-flowing sales discussion.

During his opening remarks, panel moderator and Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional Mike Gruley of 1st Nations Reverse Mortgage commented that on October 2 HECM for Purchase became a cheaper option for people looking to downsize. Instead of paying an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 2.5 percent under the old rules, they now pay two percent. And the ongoing MIP was reduced from 1.25 percent to 0.5 percent. “Everything is not all bad,” said Gruley.

Randy Davis, CRMP, of Dollar Bank added, “There are a lot of people we can still help. It’s not time to get out of the business; it’s time to get out and talk to more people.” Davis commented on the Dollar Bank Mortgage Hour, a weekly radio program on KDKA-AM that he presents, which “has opened the door to other groups, financial planners, and builders,” and he touched on guest lectures that he gives at local colleges. Davis noted that “if you’re going to do a lot of talking, you better understand the HECM product inside and out or you lose credibility.”

John Luddy of Norcom Mortgage was forthcoming on sales strategies that he has learned over the years. “Ask the client, ‘how did you find my name?’ and that will determine my presentation,” said Luddy. “If I know kids will be there, I have a different sales strategy. I always get to the appointment on time, unless I know kids will be there then I come a few minutes late. The alpha male or female will always be late. Never start the presentation without the alpha kid being there.” On overcoming objections from family members, Luddy added, “Repeat the objection as a question and the alpha child will back down.”

Ellen Skaggs, CRMP, of New American Funding, discussed her company’s increased expansion into HECM for Purchase. “When working with Realtors on the H4P it is essential to become a partner with the Realtor,” said Skaggs. “Working as a team makes the transaction much smoother. Attend Realtor functions and establish yourself as a reverse mortgage specialist. When I speak with Realtors, I don’t educate at first, rather I point out how they benefit financially from HECM for Purchase.”

Chris Downey of Harbor Mortgage Solutions commented that 90 percent of his company’s business comes from borrowers who were referred by their financial advisors. “We have made a concerted effort over the last 18 to 24 months to meet more of them and open up relationships,” he said. “We have tried a number of different things. Some have worked well. Some have not. What has worked best is plain, old fashioned boots on the ground, meeting and talking with financial advisors and opening their eyes further on the reverse mortgage product.” Three years ago, Harbor embarked on a digital marketing campaign that included “beefing up the company’s web site, blogging on different topics, and generally putting a lot of content on the web. “What that effort did was help brand us and become a local resource for these people,” said Downey.