Beth Paterson, CRMP, President of Reverse Mortgages SIDAC, LLC, based in St. Paul, MN, is one of the most active and successful originators in the Midwest, having originated over 1,000 reverse mortgages since entering the business in 1999.
Paterson earned the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designation in 2014 and is actively involved on NRMLA’s Education Committee. She is also a prolific writer and uses those skills to her advantage to educate consumers. Beth’s Reverse Mortgage Blog has received national recognition for providing the facts on reverse mortgages and she is the author of Understanding Reverse Mortgages…Financing For Seniors May Be Right Under Their Roof. Weekly Report sat down with Paterson to talk about her writing and her sales approach.
Weekly Report: What made you want to create a blog? And what’s the most challenging part of having one?
Beth Paterson: I started my blog in 2009 when there was legislation in MN that would have had a negative impact on reverse mortgages here. I had been involved with testifying all along and had reached out to the governor for him not to sign the bill if it hit his desk. I got word that AARP sent a message to all their members encouraging them to reach out to the governor for him to sign the bill. In a discussion with an associate in the industry I asked, ‘How do I get the word out that AARP has it wrong?’ He responded, ‘Write a blog.’ So, I did. My first blog was titled, “AARP Has It Wrong About Reverse Mortgages!” (By the way, the governor vetoed the bill.) I had thought of being a journalist at one point in my life and I love to write. The blog gave me a source for my journalism and writing interests and is a great tool to educate, provide facts, clear up misconceptions and share stories of my borrowers who have benefited from them. I have a lot of ideas and stories to write about. Finding the time to write them is the biggest challenge for me.
WR: With more clients not qualifying for a reverse mortgage due to the LTV reductions, how have you been able to maintain or increase volume?
BP: Marketing is always an important aspect, even when business is slow or challenging or busy. Keeping my name in front of referral sources and easily visible helps keep the inquiries coming. Then it’s about numbers, the more people I talk with the more chances of having those who do qualify. Sometimes one may not qualify today, but discussing their situation and reverse mortgages, they may qualify later. For example, when they have paid down their current mortgage or improved their debt situation.
WR: How has the conversation with reverse mortgage borrowers changed from a year or two ago?
BP: I still ask about the homeowner’s situation and their goals then provide the information about reverse mortgages and how it may help them meet those goals. Now we also talk more about how the reverse mortgage may not only meet their short-terms needs but could provide for their retirement and long-term care planning. I also include that financials planners are now discussing the importance of using one’s housing wealth in their plans and accepting reverse mortgages more than they did in the past. This seems to give them some positive assurances. I find that homeowners are more informed and therefore we’re not having the discussion of “reverse mortgages are bad” as much as we had in the past.
WR: What has been your most effective way to generate reverse mortgage leads? Social media? What else?
BP: I utilize many avenues for generating leads including networking with referral partners, our website, writing my blog and posting in various social media avenues. Additionally, I utilize the book I wrote, “Understanding Reverse Mortgages…Financing For Seniors May Be Right Under Their Roof” as a marketing tool. Participating in senior fairs and doing presentations are other avenues to keep my name in front of people.
WR: How are you approaching proprietary reverse mortgages?
BP: Well, we’re still waiting for the proprietary reverse mortgage to be available here in Minnesota. (Come on, lenders, I have some homeowners waiting for them.) Anticipating they will be available sooner than later, I do try to stay informed on the products, so I can explain them to financial advisors and those who would benefit from the proprietary products over the HECM.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
BP: Always the optimist and a believer in the program, I’m staying focused on reverses as my niche. I have already had more inquiries and am seeing an improvement in applications over the last year. Having the financial planners being more positive about reverse mortgages is a big plus for the industry.