Parker Turk, CPA, CRMP, is a chip off the old block. His father Terry Turk, President and CEO of Sun American Mortgage, located in Mesa, AZ, originated the first reverse mortgage in the Southwest in 1989 and was a founding member of NRMLA’s Board of Directors.
In 2006, Parker was only 21 when he started originating reverse mortgages part-time while working toward a Master’s in Accounting from Brigham Young University. Today, the 35-year-old is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional and one of the most successful originators in his own right in the reverse mortgage space. Weekly Report sat down with Turk to learn more about his sales approach.
Weekly Report: You originate a product that is designed for older Americans, and yet you are one of the youngest originators achieving success in this industry. What advice would you give to other Millennials who may be intimidated from selling reverse mortgages, or may not recognize the opportunity?
Parker Turk: In the early years, I was always very nervous with clients knowing my age. After I got my CPA in 2009, I was still young, but that lent instant credibility. The CRMP designation helps as well. I would say to any younger originator the two main keys would be knowledge of the program and communication skills. Over the phone very few people can tell that I am younger simply because of the amount of knowledge I have on the subject and the way I communicate it. Most transactions first start on the phone. So, if younger originators really study the program, know their stuff, and can effectively communicate it, there should be no worries to the consumer that the originator may appear younger.
WR: How does your background as a CPA influence your sales strategy and the types of homeowners who you work with?
PT: The CPA helps quite a bit. I feel that it lends some immediate credibility and trust to both my clients and referral partners. The CPA has helped get my foot in the door with other CPA’s and financial advisors as well.
WR: What has been your most effective way to generate reverse mortgage leads?
PT: Sun American is going on 30 years in the HECM space. We’ve been in it since the beginning, so I benefit quite a bit from being able to get referral business from past clients and referral partners. Within the last 5 years we have made great progress with getting referral business from financial planners and real estate agents as well. We still do some online marketing, direct mail marketing, and community newsletter marketing, but a lot of our business comes from past client and referral partner referrals.
WR: How has the conversation with reverse mortgage borrowers changed from a year or two ago?
PT: Because we had made progress with so many financial advisors the discussion was difficult at first for a lot of clients that owned their homes free and clear and were expecting the lower MIP to set up a HECM line of credit. Slowly our financial planner friends are understanding the changes and things have somewhat normalized since the changes in 2017.
WR: How are you approaching proprietary reverse mortgages?
PT: Our business is predominantly in Arizona. We have some high value areas, but not like a California or New York. So, the proprietary products are nice to have, but we don’t see being able to build a business around the proprietary products quite yet. The products that help with non-FHA condos will be helpful here in the future, I hope. I love that people are getting creative in the industry.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
PT: I have been originating HECMs for nearly 14 years. The positive through all the changes remains constant…there are still so many people that will need this program. The demographics and statistics are what they are, and it is genuinely a blessing to help people understand a program that can truly be life changing.