John Thompson, CRMP, refers to himself as a Generational Lending Expert. Since 1991, John has advised families on their first home, their next home and their final home. “The rush that comes from helping a first-time buyer get that American Dream to the life changing impact of helping a client right size or age in place with a reverse mortgage is what gets me going each and every day,” said Thompson. In December 2018, John earned the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) designation, which he says helps build trust with his clientele. Weekly Report sat down with Thompson to get his thoughts on succeeding in today’s marketplace.
Weekly Report: How are you adapting to today’s reverse mortgage market?
John Thompson: I don’t really feel that I am adapting to anything. While I have been a mortgage originator for 30 years, my experience with reverse mortgages only began in 2014, when a trusted partner essentially forced me to do a HECM for his mom. So, I am still a kid in a candy store discovering cool new ways to help this important demographic. If anything, I am adapting my practice to create more capacity to advise more older homeowners.
WR: Has the conversation changed at all between your clients in terms of helping you sell the product?
JT: The conversation has evolved from trying to fix an immediate need or gap for the client to helping them really understand the power of the products over long periods of time and how it can really enhance different aspects of their lifestyle. Maybe they started with a need to simply improve cash flow BUT once we show them how to solve the initial concern, we point out NOW look at what this opens up for you. The opportunities can include improved lifestyle, legacy planning, financial and retirement income planning, improved long term health care, less stress, more life, etc.
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
JT: We (my team and I) closed a HECM for a widow who was still working in her mid-Seventies at the library to supplement her SSI (Supplemental Security Income) in order to continue making her traditional mortgage payments. Once she understood the program and what would happen, she told us that she could not wait to quit her job. Two weeks after we closed, we called to check in with her and she told us we had saved her life – not because she was able to quit her job BUT because once she realized she didn’t need to work, all of a sudden, she had found a renewed passion for being at the library and helping book lovers of all ages enjoy great works of literature. She was now spending more time at the library even when not getting paid. She was going in whenever she wanted and not when she had to. It was an amazing transformation. I often wonder how many people she has had a positive impact on with her renewed love of books and learning.
WR: How do you all reach consumers today? Social media?
JT: I work primarily with three pillars of business and it has not changed much over the years. Realtors, financial professionals and my Circle of Influence. We do post on social media but are not great at it. Across all platforms we are continually offering education, sometimes it is consumer-focused, sometimes to our partners and prospects (realtors and financial pros). By offering public education all the time, I get asked to speak at events around our marketplace and that invariably leads to mortgage opportunities. If I could teach a class on reverse mortgages and the associated strategies every day of the week, I would – that is our growth plan. Quick CRMP plug, when someone does find me online – the CRMP designation always creates a higher level of trust in the conversation and we have closed deals that came just from me being a CRMP!
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
JT: I feel momentum out there, both my conversations with consumers and with financial and realtor partners seem to be way more positive. Acceptance of reverse is growing, and most people have positive stories to share. Financial advisors who do real comprehensive planning understand that equity in the home is an asset that can be used in retirement income planning. There is still lots of work to do and I find that exciting. It would not be nearly as fun if we didn’t get to show off our expertise. Those of us who work in the field know how life changing a reverse mortgage can be. We must tell everyone we run into. We will change the world, one family, one home and one mortgage at a time!