To help foster member engagement, NRMLA will publish periodic Member Spotlights that feature professionals from across the reverse mortgage ecosystem. In this issue, we present loan originator Wendy Oshiro, CRMP, who works for Mutual of Omaha Mortgage in Honolulu, HI.
How did you get into the reverse mortgage world?
In short – my personal failure to consider it an option for my parents was life-changing for my parents and me. After selling their home to pay for their care, I learned how a reverse mortgage could have helped us afford home care. Had I selected this option, my folks could have enjoyed their remaining years in the home they built and lived in for almost 30 years. But, unfortunately, my decision meant they had to spend the remainder of their lives in care homes. I learned the hard way how important it is to carefully consider all options when the quality of life of loved ones are at stake.
What current topics in the reverse mortgage world are you most focused on now?
Financial planning topics – How reverse mortgages can be integrated into a comprehensive retirement plan that increases the probability of a fully-funded retirement for the borrower.
What has been your biggest professional challenge/obstacle thus far? How did you overcome/handle it?
2020-2021 was the biggest professional challenge. The stress of the pandemic and everything that happened during those two years left me exhausted and struggling with the day-to-day. I lost my focus. Help and support came in an unexpected way. Let’s just say having the ear of trusted mentors who were interested in hearing what I was experiencing was helpful. Their encouragement and support helped me get my spark back.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who wants to get into the reverse mortgage world, what would it be and why?
Our customers are best served by people who care for them, respect them and can put their needs first. For someone who’d like to serve seniors as a reverse mortgage specialist, I’d have them search their motivation for doing so against what will be required of them – to be patient, kind, accommodating, as well as knowledgeable and skilled. If the motivation Is to serve seniors and serve them well, they will find great joy in this business.
Who has been a mentor to you in your career? How has their work impacted yours?
There are many colleagues that have shaped me through their example, words of wisdom, ideas, advice and help. I am grateful to those who have kindly offered their support and encouragement. It’s allowed me to endure challenging times, inspired me to be creative and try new things, and helped me grow as a professional.
Why did you become a NRMLA member?
NRMLA is an important contributor to my growth as a reverse mortgage professional. I’ve participated in numerous regional and annual conferences, CE classes, and educational opportunities. As a result, it has increased my awareness of issues concerning our industry and helped me build relationships with colleagues across the country. Their website houses resources we can use to educate customers and the professional website is a resource of information for me. NRMLA also recognizes the value of its members and creates opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience through events, committee work, and articles and features in its Reverse Mortgage Magazine.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies or pursuits?
I enjoy learning about my community, contributing to it and meeting new people. The best way to do that is through volunteering. Over the past 15 years, I’ve volunteered for dozens of nonprofit organizations. Recently, my focus has been on the Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii and the Fur Angel Foundation – a nonprofit dog foster/rescue that brought a homeless pup named Sophie into our lives. Sophie has improved our health by getting us out on walks at parks and the beach just about every day.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
I’ve been thinking about this question for a few days and can’t think of anyone. I am grateful for my life – the good and even the bad. My life experience has enabled me to connect with others with compassion, empathy and understanding that I may not have were it not for my past.
What do you love most about working in the reverse mortgage industry?
I love feeling useful. My work as a reverse mortgage specialist melds together two things that bring me great joy – ministry and teaching.
Who inspires you?
I look for goodness in others around me. I am fortunate to have so many friends, family and colleagues who have influenced and shaped me so that I might serve others better.
What is your favorite food city? Favorite meal in said city?
I love poke bowls in my home city of Honolulu.
What’s one item you can’t live without?
I don’t know if you’d call this an item but after having to endure a crazy couple of years, I’d say my mental health.