Early in her career, Lyn Coffin, CRMP, was the closing notary for a real estate law firm, and she loved facilitating paperwork signings. When a loan officer position opened for a local lender, she got the job not for her experience but for her potential. She became the loan officer who was always handed the government loans—“VA, FHA, the toughies.”
“I was always fighting for the underdog,” Lyn says. “I don’t think I did a conventional loan for about a year.”
From that perspective of serving the underdog and navigating complexities, Lyn pivoted to reverse mortgages in 2003. Today, she is a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional with Mortgage Network Inc.
Lyn first learned about reverse mortgages when her mother-in-law was struggling to meet her monthly obligations and drawing from her retirement savings. Together, they learned about reverse mortgages through an AARP publication, and it was “the perfect solution.”
“I saw the impact it had on her peace of mind and her financial security,” Lyn says. “I continued to learn about them, eventually changing career paths.”
In 2006, Lyn joined Bank of America to introduce branches to reverse mortgages as a viable option for some homeowners.
When Bank of America closed its reverse mortgage division, she transitioned to Mortgage Network Inc. There, the firm wanted one person solely responsible for reverse mortgages. Lyn is now the authority ready to be of service and guidance to colleagues and their referral partners—the real estate agents, accountants, attorneys and bankers whose own clients weren’t helped by traditional mortgages—on the intricacies of reverse mortgages. She also takes direct client referrals, offering the opportunity to discuss a family’s hopes and dreams and, if warranted, originate a reverse mortgage.
Lyn tries to serve as an internal asset, available for consultation and services that help Mortgage Network Inc. deliver the precise mortgage product needed to serve customers’ needs. Her colleagues are her “boots on the ground,” sending warm referrals her way when a reverse mortgage seems like a possible solution.
“It’s about being their dedicated originator and trying to be there with guidance and assistance when my colleagues feel they have someone who might benefit from an introductory conversation about reverse mortgage,” says Lyn.
She reminds younger loan officers, who often start client conversations with questions about the kids, to take the conversation to another level by adding aging parents to the dialog.
“I want everybody in my company to feel comfortable knowing they can call me to help,” she says. “Helping people envision what their future could look like, that’s what is really rewarding to me.”
Lyn earned her CRMP while at Mortgage Network. She believes in lifelong learning striving to “be the best you can be and do the best you can in all aspects of life. The CRMP designation helps to accomplish this.”
The CRMP credential keeps her current on trends in the field and “ever grounded in doing what’s best for the client. The certification contains a code of ethics. It talks about being not only competent, but trustworthy, reliable, honest.”
She also hopes that the CRMP gives her colleagues assurance that the clients and referral partners they send her way—including banks and credit unions that don’t offer reverse mortgages—are in good hands. After all, Lyn’s colleagues work diligently to build those connections, “and I strive to complement and grow those relationships,” she says.
At Lyn’s first meeting with clients, she takes a counseling role. She listens. Some want to retire but can’t “based on how life is unfolding. If a reverse mortgage can reduce their financial burden, it helps them shift their focus toward the future.”
“My loans typically take a while to nurture,” she says. “I give them that introductory information, and sometimes, it’s not the right moment, but at least they’ve learned about it before they decide they actually need it, so when the unexpected emergency or opportunity happens, we can jump right into things.”
When it comes to reverse mortgages, few circumstances are typical. But in the pandemic year of 2020, Lyn saw a rising need for reverse mortgages that help homeowners pay for home health aides. As COVID-19 raged, she heard from a pair of sisters whose recently widowed mother was struggling to pay the mortgage. A reverse mortgage eliminated the mother’s required monthly payments and brought in a monthly tenured payment to make up for the loss of her late husband’s Social Security payments. The arrangement provided funds for home care—and a bit of respite for the daughters.
“The mom is in mourning and doesn’t want to sell her home, and her daughters don’t want her to sell her home, so hopefully, this will give her some breathing room,” Lyn says.
Another client, Jennifer, was her mother’s long-term caregiver. Both had used up their savings. Jennifer cut back drastically on expenses—insurance payments, some home maintenance, car expenses, eating out, the cable bill—but she knew that she couldn’t live such an isolated life. She prayed. She looked into reverse mortgages, which seemed like a way “to relieve my mind for monthly income and tax payments,” she wrote in a note to Lyn. The note continued: “I liked the fact the line would grow if I did not draw on it too heavily. Thank you for being there for me and leading me through the process. It meant so much.”
Outside of work, Lyn and her husband, Mark, are sailing a course that’s all their own – literally. The two outdoor enthusiasts met through mutual friends during an adventure ocean kayaking weekend in Bar Harbor, ME. When he saw her struggling, he suggested they get a double kayak. They married in 1998.
Today, they are overhauling a small Gemini catamaran sailboat. In time, they hope to sail the Great Loop, the North American circumnavigation that encompasses about 6,000 miles of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, New York state and Canadian canals, the Great Lakes, inland rivers and the Gulf of Mexico.
“You can do it in segments,” says Lyn. “You can take it as long or as short as you want. We will go north and take it through the seasons.”
Lyn’s husband is retired from engineering and product development.
Mark’s handyman skills have been useful when clients needed small repairs to their homes. When Lyn’s son, Alex, was about twn years old, he accompanied Mark on one of those jobs, and the homeowner was so impressed to see a little boy giving up his Saturday morning that she gave Alex a dollar bill.
“He beamed,” Lyn says. “He kept that bill for a while.” She remembers realizing at that moment the benefits that her career has created for her family.
“We’re Albanian, and there’s a proverb that goes, ‘The sun at home warms better than the sun elsewhere,’” she says. “My career has impacted my family. It really solidified that my children have grown up to be fabulous adults. Because of this, I feel I’ve become better. I was a better daughter to my parents in their final years. I became a hospice volunteer. We shifted to living a less-is-more lifestyle. I now live with Type 1 diabetes, so I can relate to some of the chronic illnesses my customers have. I’ve become stronger in my faith. There’s so much good that’s come out of this. I’ve had many blessings.”