To help our members get to know one another, Weekly Report will publish periodic Member Spotlights that feature professionals from across the reverse mortgage ecosystem.
In this issue, we present Joan Hillman, a loan officer with Success Mortgage Partners, Lexington, SC. Joan earned her MBA in 1996 and started working as a college administrator. She previously worked as a financial advisor and general agent specializing in long-term care before specializing in reverse mortgages beginning in 2003.
How did you get into the reverse mortgage world?
The reverse mortgage world came looking for me. My parents were in need of help because of increasing costs of healthcare. I studied the industry and was hooked. I saw what the loan did for them and was thrilled for them. When my father died the next year, I was relieved for my mother, who lived in her home for another decade.
What current topics in the reverse mortgage world are you most focused on now?
Educating my clients and their professional partners has always been my focus. Making sure I keep up with information, the economy and benefits available to senior homeowners is extremely important to me. Inflation and its impact is my current focus.
What has been your biggest professional challenge/obstacle thus far? How did you overcome/handle it?
This is not a job for someone who wants an in and out box. Things are always changing. I moved to Florida to be close to family, so my challenge is letting people know me and trust what I do is very important to me. I am joining clubs and making presentations. Being part of the community is key.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in your career to date?
One thing that still makes me emotional is a lady who had been sick and fallen behind on her mortgage. She had everything against her, but we finally got her loan closed. She called me Christmas morning to tell me this was the best Christmas she ever had and to thank me. I still can’t talk about it without getting emotional.
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?
I still feel as passionate about this job as the day I started. We actually make lives better for people who worked hard all their lives. You have to have passion to overcome disappointments you may have. You also need to commit to learning about the loan, the world of seniors and how you can help.
Who has been a mentor to you in your career? How has their work impacted yours?
There have been many that have added to my knowledge and enthusiasm of this job. Genie McGee has been a tremendous inspiration to me. And my current manager, Regina Eldridge, keeps me going and has been wonderful inspiration to keep me going.
Why did you become a NRMLA member?
I have always been a member. It is essential to being a professional in this industry.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies or pursuits?
My family is here in Florida, so I have the thrill of being with them. I am also doing volunteer work beginning this fall.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
I really would not want to be anyone else. Everyone who has wealth, fame and celebrity has costs to that position. I am happy with who I am.
What do you love most about working in the reverse mortgage industry?
I love the people I meet along the way. They have touched my life and added to the joy I feel. I really love to educate people and let them know what a blessing this can be to someone.
Who inspires you?
I do believe it was God that gave me the courage to start a new career in the middle of my life. He continues to guide me when I have doubts. At one point, I retired and he gave me the strength to start over because my work was not done.
What is your favorite food city? Favorite meal in said city?
Charleston is my favorite food city. Savannah is becoming a close second. Salmon in both cities it the best.
What’s one item you can’t live without?
In this terrible heat, a big glass of water.