Brett Kirkpatrick originated his first mortgage in 1993 and his first reverse mortgage nine years later. For the past six years, Brett has worked for Harbor Mortgage Solutions, based in Braintree, MA. Brett is a regular speaker at NRMLA conferences, has served on various NRMLA committees, and currently is chairman of the Independent Certification Committee, which created and administers the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designation. When not originating, he enjoys gardening, pick-up basketball and singing in the church choir. Weekly Report sat down with Brett to discuss the current reverse mortgage marketplace.
Weekly Report: How are you adapting to today’s reverse mortgage market?
Brett Kirkpatrick: By talking to more trusted advisors (attorneys, financial planners and local banks) and more affiliated service providers (home care agencies, realtors, etc.)
WR: Has the conversation changed at all between you and you clients in terms of helping sell the product?
BK: (AAG CEO) Reza Jahangiri made a great observation at the NRMLA conference two years ago when he said that AAG has stopped marketing the product as a “no-payment” loan program because that message was aimed squarely at the needs-based borrower – who were now less likely to qualify. Instead, “flexible payments” or “voluntary payments” would be the message. Our conversations are now about “managing housing wealth as part of a comprehensive financial plan.” With the emergence of proprietary products and new equity release alternatives (Unison, Easy Knock, Home Tap, Point, Quantum, etc.) we can engage in a broader conversation and discuss creative alternatives, including selling-and-moving and using a HECM for Purchase.
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
BK: As my partner, George Downey, likes to say, “some of our best loans are loans that we did not do.”
WR: How do you all reach consumers today? Social media?
BK: We have invested in the must-have professional website and have learned to blog. A regular column in a local senior monthly newspaper has been a consistent producer. And we have developed a seminar series which is formatted as a moderated panel discussion between local experts in reverse mortgages, elder law, financial planning and Medicare planning that has been very well received.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
BK: There is plenty ahead. We just got the condo spot approvals back. The interest rate environment has been generous. There a six new HECM proposals from the Treasury and a similar set from the HUD Housing Reform plan. Some of these changes are administrative and therefore under HUD’s current authority. Others are legislative, with all attendant consequences. We can hold out respective breaths for any “October 1 surprises” and then catch our breath and hold it again for the November audit report. “What, me worry?” as Alfred E. Neuman may never say again.