Glen Smart, CRMP, began his mortgage lending career in 1986 for a Savings and Loan in southern Arizona. Over the years, Glen has managed retail mortgage offices and served as a vice president for various regional and national banking companies. Presently, he is regional director of reverse mortgages and leader of a forward mortgage production team for Bay Equity LLC in Tucson, AZ.
Glen is a state-certified real estate instructor who enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with other real estate professionals. In April 2015, he became a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) and currently serves on the Independent Certification Committee, which oversees the ongoing administration of the designation. Weekly Report interviewed Glen to get his perspectives on the current marketplace.
Weekly Report: How are you adapting to today’s reverse mortgage market?
Glen Smart: The lower PL (principal limit) factors changed the dynamic more than anticipated. More and more people are opting to not take the loan when comparing costs versus the lower benefit amount. With the higher ceiling, we could cover all, or most of, the costs and those days are gone. The good news is that these changes have also pushed out the originators who merely dabbled in the market. Perhaps the bigger issue is the insistence on some mid-size mortgage companies “certifying” their loan originators in reverse mortgages left and right. These inexperienced folks are doing more harm than good for the program.
WR: Has the conversation changed at all between you and your clients in terms of helping sell the product?
GS: It has a bit. The change in profitability has lessened the “call center” advertising and customer service issues. We have had to start more conversations than in the past.
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
GS: Two years ago, I had a senior come into my office because she had received a delinquency notice from her existing mortgage lender. As it turns out, she was a couple of months behind and facing a foreclosure action. In the process of understanding all her needs, I learned that she had turned off the water supply to her home because one of her pipes had broken and she didn’t have the funds to have it repaired. The roof was also leaking. I asked my business partner to call the local Council on Aging to arrange for someone to help with an immediate repair. As my partner made the call, the senior and I continued our conversation where I learned that the pipe had broken more than a year before and the senior had been hauling water into her home to do the dishes and flush the toilets. As it turned out, the Council on Aging sent out a volunteer who discovered that the issue was only a broken icemaker line to the refrigerator. They fixed the line, restored the water supply to the home, and fixed the roof – all at no cost. In the interim, we structured a HECM with a LESA to eliminate the threat of foreclosure and potential default on taxes or insurance. She remains in her home independent and stress free to this day.
WR: How do you all reach consumers today? Social media?
GS: TV commercial (local), real estate continuing education courses, social media, and referrals from forward mortgage originators.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
GS: A smaller profitability number and the upturn in forward mortgage volume will shrink the number of participants in the reverse space. The pie will be smaller but there will be fewer people trying to take a piece.