Before joining Wells Fargo as a reverse mortgage area sales manager in 2003, Castulo Romero served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corp Reserves, earned a degree in International Law, and later joined the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Romero left Wells Fargo after seven years and has originated reverse mortgages for MetLife, Aegean Financial, Finance of America Reverse and HomeBridge Financial before joining Lazerus Properties in June. Weekly Report sat down with Romero to learn more about his strategy for success.
Weekly Report: How are you adapting to today’s reverse mortgage market?
Castulo Romero: I am going back to basics…networking and developing personal relationships with professionals from all walks of life is paying off. As of today, every loan I’ve done this year came from my referral sources. Staying up to date on the economy and senior issues is helping me a lot as well, so I can have frank discussions with my clients about their future. Knowledge is power.
WR: Has the conversation changed at all between you and you clients in terms of helping sell the product?
CR: Not at all. The initial interview is always the most important since it gives me an opportunity to gauge the situation and assess which product is the best one for my clients. The conversation always revolves around their goals and the motivation they have for doing a reverse mortgage. Understanding their needs, and having the client say them out loud, helps to close the transaction. The need or desire to do a reverse mortgage always outweighs the details of it. My job is to make sure they understand how it works and above all, how it will help change their lives.
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
CR: This year, I had the opportunity to work with a former TV executive who has stage 4 cancer. His main goal was to care for his wife and two young children. This particular person impacted my life by his will to live, to fight and to show that even when we are facing battles against all odds, if we have enough faith and a strong belief system, anything is possible. Every reverse mortgage I’ve done is a success story on its own and worth talking about, but when a client becomes your friend and is able to change your life for the better in a way that your personal life and business is impacted by that person, then it becomes not just your favorite story but a perpetual reminder that giving up is not an option. As of today, he is still alive and has beaten the life expectancy he was given by five weeks. The reverse mortgage allowed him to leave everything in order for his family and to focus on making the best of the time he has left by building memories for his wife and children. Brian showed me that miracles do exist and that even in dire situations, our attitude makes things better not just for ourselves but for those around us too.
WR: How do you all reach consumers today? Social media?
CR: I still haven’t used social media as I should have, but it is on my to-do list. Building relationships has been the primary source of my business. Personal interaction not only makes a bigger impact but also turns clients into referral sources. Always carry your cards and be willing to engage strangers in conversations. It helps polish your speaking skills and create opportunities with new people.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
CR: I am super excited about the jumbo market and the products we have available. Having more options for our clients opens more doors with professionals and enhances our referral base. Next year looks very promising as shown by our production.