Barry Scoles has been a professional mortgage loan originator in Colorado since 1994. In 2003, Barry was introduced to the reverse mortgage program, and since then has devoted his career to teaching seniors and financial professionals about the proper use and diverse applications for this financial tool. Barry speaks and trains nationally on the topic of reverse mortgages. He is certified by the Department of Regulatory Agencies of Colorado and the Texas Real Estate Commission to teach classes for real estate agents and is also approved by the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards to provide CE classes to CFPs nationwide. Barry served on NRMLA’s Board of Directors for three years and currently co-chairs the Ethics Committee. Weekly Report sat down with Scoles to get his thoughts on the state of the market.
Weekly Report: How are you achieving success in today’s market? Has the conversation changed at all between you and your clients in terms of helping sell the product?
Barry Scoles: I guess the first thing I would say is that, in the HECM World, the definition of “success” is fluid. Whether you are measuring volume, profitability, or conversion rates, over the years one must view success relative to the ever changing dynamics of our industry. When it comes to dealing with HECM prospects, my conversation has not changed but has expanded to helping clients remember the past and to look a bit more into the future. While the negativity surrounding HECMs is less today than in the past, I always anticipate that a HECM prospect will bring skepticism to the conversation. When you add to this that senior homeowners are feeling confident about home values and the economy overall (I refer to this as the “wealth effect”), it is easier for borrowers to say no – or at least not yet. To overcome this, a bit of nostalgia about our not so distant past, and applying some what-if strategies, can help advance the discussion.
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
BS: My favorite reverse mortgage story is short and simple. When sitting at closing with Martha, as we finished up the closing she began to cry. I asked if she was okay and she said, ‘I am better than OK. God has answered my prayers and I am going to be able to get my new teeth in time to attend my granddaughters’ graduation.’ About 22 percent of our business is HECM for Purchase, and we do a lot of loans on free and clear homes for homeowners who want to utilize the credit line growth. However, none of those loans will ever be as meaningful as the one I did for Martha.
WR: Do you have a follow-up system you use to reach out to those customers who want to wait?
BS: Over the years, I have used many methods for follow up, but none that seems to stand out more than the others. As long as you have a system and are faithful in using it there are many options that will work.
WR: How are you approaching proprietary reverse mortgages?
BS: Unfortunately, the greater footprint of our company does not provide a huge opportunity to use the proprietary options. The few I have done provided an outstanding option for the homeowners, and I am always on the lookout for opportunities to use the product. I am enthusiastic about how the product is gradually evolving, and I firmly believe the future of proprietary reverse mortgages is bright.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
BS: Having been involved with NRMLA for the past 16 years, I am keenly aware that there have been several times when the HECM industry faced serious disruption if not actual shut down. I am always encouraged that NRMLA, key members of Congress and devoted FHA staff and administrators have fought to keep our program alive. I believe our industry was never more fragile than it has been over the past few years, and I am highly encouraged that we have Secretary Montgomery, and others, taking a deep-dive into finding the solutions that will keep the reverse mortgage industry alive and relevant.