Jan/Feb 2023 RMM

www.nrmlaonline.org The official magazine of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association January–February 2023 Volume 16, No. 1 INSIDE: What’s Ahead? Technology Advances Take Hold P. 24 P. 28 Lobbyists: New Congress Unlikely to Tackle Major Housing Legislation WATCHING Washington

1005983457 LET’S NAVIGATE THESE TIMES TOGETHER Partner with us on a H4P (HECM for Purchase) Learn More WsPartner@mutualmortgage.com 619.798.4353 #1 HECM for Purchase lender Pre-approvals with pre-approval letter Direct UW Contact Exceptional Turn Times Responsive AE’s/Customer Service You can count on a trusted partner to give your clients the opportunity to take their reverse mortgage further this year with HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) for Purchase. Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, Inc. dba Mutual of Omaha Reverse Mortgage, NMLS ID 1025894. 3131 Camino Del Rio N 1100, San Diego, CA 92108. These materials are not from HUD or FHA and the document was not approved by HUD, FHA or any Government Agency. Subject to Credit Approval. For licensing information, go to: www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org Minnesota Residential Mortgage Originator Exemption MN-OX-1025894 The dependability & reliability of a 113 year old company. We help our customers protect what they care about and achieve their financial goals.

From the Top Steven J. Sless, President, Reverse Mortgage Lending, Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. By Darryl Hicks 10 Those We Help Reverse mortgage helps pay bills By Darryl Hicks 32 January/February 2023 Volume 16, No. 1 Contents CRMP: Across the Kitchen Table A chat with Alina Passarelli, CRMP: Mutual of Omaha Mortgage Reverse, Edina, MN By M. Diane McCormick 14 Features 18 Watching Washington Lobbyists: New Congress unlikely to tackle major housing legislation By Thomas A. Barstow 24 What’s Ahead? Experts at roundtable see promise with reverse mortgages this year By Joel Berg 28 Technology Advances Take Hold Companies accelerate use of digital tools in loan process By Joel Berg Columns 3 In Reverse A quiet 2023 would be welcomed By Thomas A. Barstow 5 Steve Irwin: Moving Forward Looking into the new year Departments 2 Scribes Meet this month’s contributors 6 What’s News Get up to date on the industry, the press and Washington, DC 34 Member News/Who’s Who in Reverse Mortgages 36 Numbers Survey: Retirees cite inflation as biggest concern PUBLISHER Peter Bell pbell@dworbell.com SENIOR EDITOR Thomas A. Barstow thomas.barstow@theYGSgroup.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Darryl Hicks dhicks@dworbell.com MANAGING EDITOR Therese Umerlik therese.umerlik@theYGSgroup.com MANAGING EDITOR, DWORBELL, INC. Jessica Hoefer PRESIDENT Stephen Irwin NRMLA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS Scott Norman, Finance of America Reverse Michael Kent, PHH Mortgage Corp. dba Liberty Reverse Mortgage DESIGNER Christel Emenheiser ADVERTISING SALES Natalie Matter Bellis natalie.matterbellis@theYGSgroup.com Reverse Mortgage is the official publication of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. The magazine is published every two months. For inquiries regarding association membership and/or magazine subscriptions, please call Darryl Hicks at 202-939-1784. Advertising and editorial inquiries should be directed to Megan Brodbeck (megan.brodbeck@ theYGSgroup.com) and Therese Umerlik (therese.umerlik@theYGSgroup.com), respectively. Association & Subscription Contact: National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association 1400 16th St., NW, Suite 420 Washington, DC 20036 202-939-1760 lross@dworbell.com Industry: www.nrmlaonline.org Consumers: www.reversemortgage.org Advertising & Editorial Contact: National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association 1400 16th St., NW, Suite 420 Washington, DC 20036 202-939-1760 ©2023 National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association

Scribes Meet This Month’s Contributors Thomas A. Barstow (In Reverse, p. 3, and Watching Washington, p. 18) is the senior editor for Reverse Mortgage magazine. Barstow has had a 37-year career in journalism that includes being a reporter, writer or editor in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York. He currently teaches journalism at Gettysburg College and writes for various business publications. He is a former president of the Pennsylvania Society of News Editors and a former president of the Associated Press Media Editors in Pennsylvania. Joel Berg (What’s Ahead?, p. 24, and Technology Advances Take Hold, p. 28) has been a business-to-business reporter and editor for more than 20 years, both in-house and freelance, covering finance, healthcare, environmental regulation and general business news for local, regional and national publications. Most recently, he was editor of the Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business in Pennsylvania. He also taught writing and communications at York College, Millersville University, Gettysburg College and Harrisburg University. Darryl Hicks (From the Top, p. 10, and Those We Help, p. 32) joined NRMLA in May 1999 and currently serves as vice president, communications. Hicks writes the Weekly Report newsletter, administers NRMLA’s social media accounts and websites, and manages the CRMP designation. Steve Irwin (Moving Forward, p. 5), president of NRMLA, oversees the association’s initiatives to serve as an educational resource, policy advocate and public affairs center for consumers, lenders and related professionals. His background includes experience with strategic planning, organizational design, portfolio acquisition, risk management and quality control. He received his B.A. from Grinnell College and his MBA from the University of San Francisco. M. Diane McCormick (CRMP: Across the Kitchen Table, p. 14) is a freelance journalist and former legislative press secretary. She covers issues involving a variety of national business associations, as well as basic and higher education. Her 2017 book, Well-Behaved Taverns Seldom Make History, explores Pennsylvania pubs where rabble-rousers stirred up trouble, from the American Revolution to Prohibition. NATIONWIDE REVERSE MORTGAGE FIELD SERVICE EXPERTS FOR OVER 30 YEARS 1.800.639.2151 www.nfronline.com Inspections - Preservation - Insurance Loss Inspections - Violation Management - Vacant Property Registrations - Utility Management - REO Services - Special Services 2 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

In Reverse A Dull Year Would Be Much Appreciated By Thomas A. Barstow I AM BY nature a realistic optimist, so I often start the new year thinking about all the positives that could come my way, while understanding that anything can happen. After the past few years of turmoil, a dull 2023 would be much appreciated. I went into 2022 thinking the same thing, and it wasn’t too long before Russia went to war with Ukraine, gasoline prices started to spike, inflation picked up and the wacky political midterm election season took off. By the end of the year, interest rates on mortgages had doubled, from 3.5 percent to seven percent, as of this printing. To quote President Joe Biden, “Come on, man.” Anyway, at my age, my nature might be set, so I am looking at this issue of Reverse Mortgage through that same lens of a realistic optimist, too. In the cover story, Watching Washington (p. 18), we get some relatively good news, from my perspective at least. With the Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate and White House and the Republicans taking control of the U.S. House, we might be looking at a relatively calm year when it comes to legislative or regulatory activity surrounding reverse mortgages. NRMLA’s lobbyists were monitoring the midterm elections, where the result led to another two years of divided government. They point out that legislators on both sides of the aisle likely will have a number of high priorities over the next two years before the next presidential election, so they do not expect sweeping legislation involving reverse mortgages. Regulators will continue to tweak around the edges, which has been an ongoing process for years now, with many of the changes benefiting reverse mortgage companies and servicers. NRMLA has maintained sound relationships in key congressional committees no matter which party is in control. That has built trust, so when issues come up or parts of the reverse mortgage process need to be updated, the changes can go smoothly. And the HECM program has been sound, fiscally and administratively. “The program has been pretty significantly well run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in recent years,” says David Horne, a NRMLA lobbyist based in Washington, DC. Scott Olson, who also is a NRMLA lobbyist, points out in the cover story that financial regulations usually happen when there are serious problems. And the HECM product has been stable because of the reforms implemented after the housing crisis 15 years ago. In Reverse continued on page 4 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 3

Other news going into 2023 also offers reasons to be confident. In the article Technology Advances Take Hold (p. 28), writer Joel Berg outlines how companies are putting technology improvements on hyperspeed. Reverse mortgage companies have watched as forward mortgage companies pushed into the digital future and have established goals and processes to catch up. Such gains not only will help streamline the processing of loans but also, perhaps, give reverse mortgages a wider audience. Speaking of spreading the word about the benefits of equity release products, Berg also writes about efforts by leaders of reverse mortgage companies to beef up marketing. The article What’s Ahead? (p. 24) covers the leaders who were part of a roundtable at recent NRMLA’s 2022 Annual Meeting & Expo. Mike Kent, president of Liberty Reverse Mortgage, offers a unique idea that would help grow the reverse mortgage market, while helping the Biden administration achieve some of its goals involving climate change. For example, he suggests that HECMs might be a great tool for seniors aging in place to afford renovations that would help them reduce energy bills—money for insulation, modern windows and doors, and solar panels. “We have to be far more vocal about the social aspect of this program and the good it does,” Kent says. We also hear from Steve Sless, who until recently was president of reverse mortgage lending for Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI). In From the Top (p. 10), Sless talks about his company’s growth and how PRMI has a plan to continue developing new business this year and beyond. “PRMI is very methodical. We’re long-term, visionary thinkers,” he tells Darryl Hicks, NRMLA’s vice president of communications. “At our planning meetings and strategy sessions, nobody is thinking about rising interest rates and the immediate impact on business. We’re planning five, six, seven years out.” I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but that view certainly appeals to my sense of realistic optimism. In Reverse In Reverse continued from page 3 Partnership you can trust. Dedicated to never competing with you - your success is our success. Ready to experience the difference? Visit Celink.com Deep Industry Experience 96% Borrower Satisfaction Rating Independence and Alignment with Clients Robust Specialized Technology Reverse Mortgage Is Our Core Competency © Celink. All rights reserved. NMLS #3020 - http://nmlsconsumeraccess.org. Compu-Link Corporation dba Celink (WA license# CL3020 and 603 018 607) 4 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

Moving Forward Looking Into the New Year Macroeconomic Uncertainty Will Continue to Disrupt Our Marketplace By Steve Irwin, President, National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association “This present moment used to be the unimaginable future”—Stewart Brand AS I HAVE discussed before, the dawn of a new year brings self-reflection, both personally and professionally. Right on cue, we all get consumed with annual performance reviews and postelection debriefs and post- mortems. We continue to evaluate the seemingly ever-present headwinds that were adeptly navigated in 2022, and the land mines we were able to avoid. Were all those projects brought across the finish line on time, and on budget? Did we really achieve that work-life balance we promised ourselves at the start of the past year? As we look back, however, we must also be mindful of the need to lift our heads and pay close attention to what lies ahead. Macroeconomic uncertainty will continue to disrupt our marketplace. Administrative and regulatory adjustments may appear when we least expect them. The question then becomes how ready to adapt will we really be when facing the unanticipated changes that 2023 will present to all of us? A key driver of our industry’s ability to adapt to anticipated change will require an accelerated effort to embrace the lifeline that technology will offer. Cuttingedge technological advances in data sharing and delivery will help us to effectively dodge the land mines the coming year will inevitably put in our paths. Embracing technological advances in the reverse mortgage marketplace will enable our members’ organizations to operate more efficiently and become proactively responsive to their customers’ needs. Operational methods will have to change and embrace tomorrow’s technological advances. Our focus on technology will have to sharpen to broaden our products’ distribution and accessibility. Your association will do all it can to support and facilitate such technological advancement. A second determinant of our ability to properly manage the change that is heading our way will be to continually advocate for reverse mortgage product enhancements. Aging homeowners are not a monolith. The product offerings of our industry must be able to be more effectively designed to match the ever-evolving priorities of customers. By concentrating on expanding the available product offerings of our members, through data-driven recommendations, we can also expand the accessibility and distribution of products our nation’s older homeowners desperately need. Your association will do all it can to support and facilitate the continual improvement of the available product offerings. There is no doubt in my mind the reverse mortgage industry will continue to face challenges in the coming year. Those challenges will necessitate change. For us to successfully navigate these challenges and changes as an industry, we must collaborate, open chains of communication, try new approaches, and be bold with our technologies and products. I, for one, look forward to working with our members to bring the change we need. Steve Irwin REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 5

Senior Home Equity Exceeds Record $11.58 Trillion Homeowners ages 62 and older saw their housing wealth grow by 4.10 percent, or $456 billion, in Q2 2022 to a record $11.58 trillion from Q1 2022, according to the October 7 quarterly release of the NRMLA/ RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI). The NRMLA/RMMI rose in Q2 2022 to 405.23, another all-time high since the index was first published in 2000. The increase in older homeowners’ wealth was mainly driven by an estimated 3.82 percent, or $506 billion, increase in home values, offset by a 2.36 percent, or $50 billion, increase in senior-held mortgage debt. “With the stock market volatility and the potential for a recession, it’s the perfect time for families to take stock of their retirement resources and make necessary adjustments to ensure continued financial security,” says NRMLA President Steve Irwin. “Housing wealth should be considered with other financial assets.” Social Security Announces 8.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2023 Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase by 8.7 percent in 2023, the Social Security Administration announced on October 13. On average, Social Security benefits will increase by more than $140 per month starting in January. The 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment—the largest in 40 years—begins with benefits payable to People are talking about ... What’s News EVERYTHING NEW YOU NEED TO KNOW 6 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

more than 65 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2023. Increased payments to more than seven million SSI beneficiaries began on December 30, 2022. Help Your Clients By Becoming a Social Security Claiming Expert NRMLA has partnered with the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts to promote a new educational opportunity for NRMLA members that can help grow your businesses. The demand for Social Security advice is unprecedented, and the Registered Social Security Analyst® (RSSA®) credential is the standard of excellence in Social Security planning and education. These analysts can help clients potentially gain tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in incremental Social Security income. The RSSA® program uses RSSA® Roadmap software training, created for individuals who want to dive deeper into the nuances of Social Security. NRMLA members will receive a $300 discount on the eLearning program. To enroll, visit www.narssa.org/ registration/ and use the promo code: NRMLA300 U.S. Drops to 18th Place in Global Retirement Rankings Rising inflation and a volatile stock market contributed to the United States falling from 17th to 18th place among the top 44 industrialized nations in the 2022 Global Retirement Index (GRI) released in September by Natixis Investment Managers. The United States ranked 23rd a decade ago. Now in its tenth year, the 2022 Natixis Global Retirement Index examines critical issues driving global retirement security on the heels of the pandemic and reveals the top countries for retirement security around the world. The Natixis GRI rankings are based on an aggregate of mean scores from zero to 100 percent for 18 performance measures in each of four subindexes: Finances in Retirement (U.S. ranked 11th); Material Well-being (U.S. ranked 30th); Health (U.S. ranked 17th); and Quality of Life (U.S. ranked 21st). The indexes are combined to provide an overall picture of the environment for retirees. Norway ranked No. 1, followed by Switzerland and Iceland. Luxembourg and the Czech Republic moved into the Top 10, while Germany and Canada dropped out. Read the full report at https://bit.ly/3U5ccQ0. Subscription Discount for RMD, Other HW Media Publications NRMLA is proud to partner with HW Media to provide our members with exclusive, discounted pricing for an Annual HW+ membership. HW+ unlocks unlimited access to a housing ecosystem built on community, best-in-class news, data and research across mortgage, real estate and property technology and is accessible across HousingWire, Reverse Mortgage Daily, RealTrends and FinLedger. Memberships can be purchased using the code NRMLA150. Follow the instructions at https://bit. ly/3T4MiKL. Welcome, New Members NRMLA welcomes our newest members: • Financial Solutions Home Loans, Aptos, CA (Lender); • Five Brothers, Warren, MI (Associate Member); • SitusAMC, New York, NY (Associate Member); Southeast Commercial Consulting LLC, Newport News, VA (Lender); and • Southern Mortgage Corp., Atlanta, GA (Lender). The press is talking about ... Tips for Using Emergency Cash What are some smart ways for consumers to access emergency cash without paying exorbitant rates for personal bank loans or credit cards? An August 15 article in Financial Advisor Magazine mentions reverse mortgages as one option. A reverse mortgage is primarily for “those in What’s News continued on page 8 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 7

the decumulation stage of their retirement planning,” says Jason Miller, a partner at Crewe Advisors in Scottsdale, AZ. He notes that people don’t have to make regular payments, but the entire amount is due when they move out, sell the home or die. The article also notes that federal regulations have made reverse mortgages safer than they used to be. “For instance, the loan amount can’t exceed the home’s market value. If the home’s value dips too low, the lender’s insurance will cover the difference, so the borrowers [or their heirs] aren’t responsible for it.” Read the full article at https://bit.ly/3FHJv7n. Inflation Remains a Concern for Retirement Plans Kiplinger magazine conducted a survey that found more than 70 percent of individuals 50 and older are concerned that inflation will cause serious economic hardship during their retirement. In a September 2 article, Kiplinger senior editor Sandra Block reports that one remedy to consider is taking out a reverse mortgage line of credit. “The line of credit will create a buffer during market downturns, providing a source of funds to pay expenses until your portfolio recovers,” says Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services. “You won’t have to pay the money back as long as you remain in your home.” While rates have moved up recently, they’re still historically low, Pfau adds. “However, if you’re contemplating a reverse mortgage, you may not want to put it off much longer, because rates are expected to continue to rise as the Federal Reserve moves to squelch inflation.” Read the full article at https://bit.ly/3fHEbpI. In Washington, they’re talking about … HUD Publishes Proposed Rule on LIBOR Transition The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule on October 19 that would replace the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) with the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as an approved index for the Federal Housing Administration-insured adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), including HECMs. Public comments were due by November 18. NRMLA, in coordination with the HMBS Issuer Committee, submitted comments on behalf of its members. HUD’s proposed rule would establish a spread-adjusted SOFR index as the Secretary-approved replacement index to transition existing forward and HECM ARMs off LIBOR. The proposed rule would also clarify the HECM monthly ARM regulation and establish a lifetime five percent interest rate cap for monthly adjustable-rate HECMs. FHA Updates HECM Due and Payable Requirements The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) changed its requirement for mortgagees to notify a borrower’s estate and heirs that a HECM has become due and payable from within 30 days of the date of the borrower’s death to within 30 days of providing notice of the borrower’s death to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Details were provided in Mortgagee Letter (ML) 202215, published August 31. The change aligns the notification requirements for all HECMs, regardless of the case number assignment date or the due and payable status. ML 2022-15 fixes an issue that had been causing problems for HECM servicers. Because it can sometimes take more than 30 days to find out a borrower has died, HUD penalized servicers for not distributing due and payable notices to the estate within the required 30-day time frame. The policy change provides more time now that the due and payable letter can be sent after the HUD Secretary is informed of the borrower’s death. A joint statement issued by Gail Balettie and Rex Lamb, both of Celink, states: “We are thankful that HUD has addressed this long-standing issue that causes HECM servicers and investors to suffer unfair losses. We are still hopeful that HUD will open a path for HECM servicers to recover debenture interest curtailed for this reason.” NRMLA President Steve Irwin adds, “NRMLA has long advocated for a resolution to this programmatic requirement, which in many cases was operationally What’s News continued from page 7 8 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. This forum is the place for readers to share their opinions with colleagues about the direction of the reverse mortgage business and other retirement trends. Submissions should be limited to 100 words or less and submitted to Associate Editor Darryl Hicks at dhicks@dworbell.com. unfeasible to comply with. By making this timing requirement consistent across all books of business, HUD has taken a critical step forward in stemming servicer losses.” The policy became effective at the end of November. HUD Announces $15 Million to Help Older Americans Age in Place The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will distribute an additional $15 million through its Older Adult Home Modification Program (OAHMP) to nonprofit organizations and state and local governments to help low-income elderly homeowners pay for home modifications to help them age in place. Eligible organizations will need to apply for the new round of funding through a notice of funding availability. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced the new round of funding in front of a home in Minneapolis, MN, owned for the past 36 years by John and Betty Smith. According to local media coverage of the event, the Smiths received a $2,500 grant to pay for improvements such as new wiring for their flickering lights, updated smoke detectors, functional knobs and pullers on their built-in buffet, a knee scooter walker, and a grab-bar for their bathroom. The work was done by the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Inc. The OAHMP program is open to anyone 62 or older who earns less than 80 percent of the area median income. And now you’re up to date. REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 9

STEVEN SLESS IS all about personal branding. From his signature beard and colorful suits to his “More with Sless” tagline, Sless has successfully leveraged social media with commonsense marketing to build a successful career for himself in the reverse mortgage business. Three years ago, he joined Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), a Salt Lake City-based mortgage company that had been offering reverse mortgages for several years but needed an extra boost in leadership to take it to the next level. He soon opened The Steven J. Sless Group in Owings Mills, MD, to create a centralized location for all reverse mortgage operations. In 2021, The Steven J. Sless Group opened its second branch in California, and Sless was promoted to president of reverse mortgage lending, overseeing all reverse mortgage-related activities across the organization. The approach appears to be working as PRMI has cracked the Top 20 in company rankings for reverse mortgages, and he and his team have their eyes on the Top 10. Reverse Mortgage magazine sat down with Sless to learn more about PRMI and his long-term plans for the company. Reverse Mortgage: What led to your involvement in the reverse mortgage business? How has your sales approach evolved over the past 15 years? Steven Sless: Like a lot of mortgage professionals back during the last economic downturn in 2007–2008, I was only doing conventional loans, and that business dried up. I was searching for the next big opportunity, and I came across a company that was offering conventional mortgages and reverse mortgages. I saw loan officers having a lot of success with reverse mortgages. I was in my young 20s at the time, so I was turned off by the thought of getting into the reverse mortgage business and working with seniors. But I did a couple of loans, and I fell in love with reverse mortgages and the positive impact they were having on my clients. It was different compared to saving homeowners a few hundred bucks a month when they refinanced. It was at that point that I decided to commit myself to reverse, and I haven’t looked back since. I haven’t originated a traditional mortgage loan since 2007. Steven J. Sless, President, Reverse Mortgage Lending, Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. By Darryl Hicks From the Top Steven Sless 10 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

RM: Tell our readers about PRMI. How many states is the company licensed in for reverse mortgages? How many employees do you have in the forward and reverse divisions? SS: PRMI is a national mortgage lender that was founded in 1998. It’s licensed in 49 states, and we have about 1,200 employees. RM: How many PRMI employees originate reverse mortgages? SS: Our philosophy at PRMI is to allow anybody who wants to originate reverse mortgages the avenue and the opportunity to do so. There are some barriers to entry. There’s a certification process that individuals must complete. There’s sales training, product training and systems training, but once they get through that training, we certify them to originate reverse mortgages. About one-third of the 1,200 loan officers at PRMI are reverse mortgage certified. They can leverage the support and assistance of our reverse mortgage leadership team. We have a loan scenario desk, a pricing desk and a marketing team. This is the direction that the reverse mortgage industry must go. We need to attract more forward mortgage companies and more forward mortgage originators and leverage them and their referral partners, their Realtor relationships, and support them with folks behind the scenes who are the foremost experts in the reverse mortgage space. RM: I couldn’t agree more. We’re seeing this same approach being taken by an increasing number of forward mortgage companies. SS: I think PRMI has taken it a step further. Our reverse mortgage department processes and handles all the operational execution. We all know the processing is vastly different. The title is vastly different with reverse. We’ve centralized all reverse mortgage support and operations. We have our own account executives and sales managers. Our forward loan officers don’t reach out to external AEs (account executives) for support and guidance. They get it internally. We process all the files, and that just makes life a lot easier for the loan officer and the manager and a much more pleasurable, quicker experience for the client. RM: What attracted you to PRMI? SS: I came to PRMI in 2019. There was very little infrastructure. My colleague George Morales arrived a year prior and started to lay the building blocks and the foundation for me to come in and then build on that foundation. The reverse mortgage platform was bare bones when I arrived so it was a daunting task, but it was a test that I was excited about. What drew me to PRMI was the executive leadership and the deep commitment to reverse. PRMI is a national, multi- billion-dollar, balance-sheet organization. They don’t make investments lightly. When they get into something, they go all-in. At my first meeting with the executive leadership, they brought me to Salt Lake City, where the corporate office is located, and they asked me, “We want to become a Top 10 lender in the space. What is that going to take?” I gave them a monetary dollar figure and the number of years that it would take. They didn’t blink an eye. We’re still on that journey today. We’re not yet Top 10. I believe we’re 19 or 20, depending on the month, but we’re on our way. PRMI has delivered on every promise that they made to me. RM: Is there anything else that distinguishes PRMI from its competitors? SS: PRMI is very methodical. We’re long-term, visionary thinkers. At our planning meetings and strategy sessions, nobody is thinking about rising interest rates and the immediate impact on business. We’re planning five, six, seven years out, and the foundation that we’re still laying today is that foundation to thrive and be that Top 10, or Top 5, lender in the space many, many years out. That’s what I love about this company. It’s just so unique—most of the time at least. Again, through my experience in the mortgage industry, the discussions tend to be focused on “what have you done for me lately?” and “we need immediate ROI [return on investment] and immediate results.” PRMI is a company that just doesn’t think that way. RM: I see you frequently on social media, especially LinkedIn, promoting reverse mortgages. Which From the Top continued on page 12 From the Top REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 11

platforms do you find most effective? If you could offer one piece of advice on how to properly use social media, what would that be? SS: LinkedIn has been amazing. I could not have built my personal brand or PRMI’s reverse mortgage presence without leveraging all the resources at our fingertips. We’ve made connections across the country. We get referrals every day. A lot of referrals come from folks whom I’ve never met personally, but they see us on LinkedIn, and they appreciate the content. We’re laser-focused on words. The way that you lay out your content matters and having a professional, polished presence. It’s important, especially in a leadership role within an industry that is often misunderstood, to have that professional presence and be able to tell a story through words and video. I’ve had the privilege of being a guest on many podcasts, internet TV shows and radio shows, that have been shared on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We leverage them all, but LinkedIn is my top source for brand-building. As far as tips for using social media, be consistent, genuine and yourself. You should come off as a professional. These days, it’s pretty easy for somebody to go on any social media platform and unveil the skeletons in your closet that go back many years. Anything you put on social media, it’s there to stay. It can always be found, so be purposeful, intentional and consistent— those would be my three points of advice. RM: I know you’re especially proud to have earned the CLTC® or Certified Long-Term Care designation. What motivated you to pursue the CLTC® and how has it made you a better reverse mortgage professional? SS: The designation itself has been empowering and enlightening. I don’t sell insurance products. I don’t have a license to sell insurance products. But I was passionate about discovering more about long-term care. We’ve all seen the statistics about how few people are insured or protected against an extended-care incident and the astronomical costs associated with paying for long-term care. I wanted to learn more. I ended up taking the last CLTC® course in Washington, DC, prior to COVID. I still have great, long-standing relationships with all of the folks I met. I was the only reverse mortgage professional in a room of about 40 financial planners. They allowed me to get up and give an impromptu reverse mortgage presentation. At that time, there was only one paragraph about reverse mortgages in the CLTC® curriculum. I was invited to rewrite the curriculum and to offer an entire chapter about reverse mortgages that has been added to the 2023–2024 workbook—six pages instead From the Top continued from page 11 From the Top Financing Seniors’ Independence ServingUtah and Idaho for Over 20Years We opened our doors in 1999 to provide local homeowners and those wishing to be homeowners good quality mortgage loans with no hidden surprises or costs. We pride ourselves on being customer oriented and find loans that are tailor made for our clients. We added the reverse mortgage loan to our great line of product offerings and have been providing the people of Utah and Idaho this loan as another mortgage available to meet whatever financial need arises. We continue to remain committed to our clients’ mortgage financing needs, and our variety of all residential mortgage loan products makes us a great company to add to your network of professionals. FSI Mortgage Independence Square 111 East 5600 South • Suite 102 Murray, UT 84107 • NMLS #4398 www.fsimortgage.net 1-800-808-3066 12 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

Nationwide Full-service title & settlement services. Accurate closings that leave your senior borrowers happy! Experienced Seasoned experts matched to the unique needs of your transaction. Hassle Free Assistance & 1-on-1 training every step of the way. AllegiantReverse.com Toll Free: 844.808.8299 Reverse Done Right. of one paragraph. We create new content for CLTC®. We do webinars. I speak at all their conferences. We have immersed ourselves in that community. It’s now possible to have more informed conversations with our clients about long-term care, should the topic come up, and long-term care professionals better understand reverse mortgages. That’s the perfect marriage. RM: Who sponsors the CLTC®? SS: It’s called the Certified Long-Term Care [program]. The parent corporation is the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts®, or IDFA®. The IDFA® also has the CDFA®, or Certified Divorce Financial Analysts® professional designation. These are financial advisers who specialize in “silver” or senior divorce. They’re forensic accountants. They take care of the financial aspects of divorce. RM: The past few months have been challenging for many companies given the rise in interest rates. What changes have you implemented, or contemplated, to continue growing? SS: We’re doubling and tripling down on supporting our PRMI branch partners by providing them an avenue to diversify their product offerings and to do so with confidence through leveraging the resources of the reverse mortgage leadership team and ultimately helping them to produce and to originate more reverse mortgages. We’re creating more content. We’re enhancing our sales training. I’m committed to getting out and visiting with all of our branch partners, getting into their branch, hearing them out, listening to their struggles and providing them with an avenue to diversify and increase their business and supplement their loan production with more reverse mortgage production. Like any company, we’re cutting costs. We’re looking at everything holistically from the top down. We’re using this opportunity to ensure that we are well-positioned to achieve the goals set forth three years ago when I joined PRMI—and, that is, we’re steadfast in our commitment to being a Top 10 or Top 5 reverse mortgage lender. We’re making all the appropriate cost-cutting measures and doubling down on our efforts to support our branch partners to help us achieve those goals. Editor’s note: Since this interview, Steven Sless left Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. in December to become chief operating officer at Trius Lending Partners, a Marylandbased private finance, commercial and hard-money lender for real estate investors. From the Top REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 13

EARLY IN HER career, Alina Passarelli didn’t last long in telemarketing for a mortgage company. “My skin is not thick enough,” she says now. But the job’s two-week crash course in mortgage lending changed her life. “I just fell in love with the idea of being able to build solutions for people and create homeownership. I ended up writing my first mortgage that year, and I was hooked.” Since a similar epiphany transitioned her to reverse mortgages in 2007, Passarelli has carved out a role as a pioneer CRMP, riding out the industry’s changes and serving clients across multiple phases of their lives. Born and raised in Minnesota, Passarelli was a student-athlete who studied psychology in college. “Who knew how much I’d use that in this job over the years?” she jokes. In her early 20s, she co-owned a ski and wakeboard boat dealership that she says was more of a hobby than a business. A telemarketing gig was one of her side hustles. After her introduction to mortgage lending, the lifelong learner read everything she could about the field, leading to her role as a full-time forward loan officer. The refinancing boom of the early 2000s kept her busy, but the work felt transactional. When scheduling couples for closings during bank hours became a challenge, Passarelli saw an opportunity. She trained as a closer and, though the concept was strange at the time, began offering notary closings at work or at home, after hours and weekends. Passarelli turned that popular initiative into a business, but she turned down requests to close reverse mortgages, which were unfamiliar to her. Finally, she asked a lender to train her and her staff on the product. In an airport- hotel conference room, they learned about the mechanics of reverse mortgages. Once again, Passarelli was hooked. She says she “started nerding out,” reading and learning everything she could. She had kept in touch with the representative from the lender who held the training and got a call from a regional manager in 2007 who asked if she wanted to originate reverse mortgages. “I’m the worst hire ever,” she told them. She was eight months pregnant, but the lender accommodated her. She wrote her first reverse mortgage that year. “I grew up in a family dedicated to service and giving back,” she says. “When I was younger, I didn’t know how to do that. This was the right time in my life, being a mom and realizing how good it feels to take care of others. I finally had that opportunity in my career to feel like I was doing a really good thing.” To build awareness of reverse mortgages, she held informational sessions in libraries and encouraged banks to hold their own sessions. She remembers a client who was going through a divorce. Passarelli suddenly recognized the name. Learning, Helping and Doing Are Keys to CRMP’s Success A Chat With Alina Passarelli, CRMP: Mutual of Omaha Mortgage Reverse, Edina, MN By M. Diane McCormick Alina Passarelli CRMP: Across the Kitchen Table 14 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023

She had refinanced a home for the woman and her then-husband 20 years before. “The woman burst into tears,” Passarelli recalls. “She said, ‘How did I find you again?’ I helped her find a beautiful condo that won’t have a mortgage payment, and luckily, she has a good pension coming and can completely retire and travel with her girlfriends. It felt good knowing I helped her in two chapters of her life.” And there was the couple living in a pristine Minnesota lake home. The husband had a heart condition. As he prepared for his wife’s future, his kids from a previous marriage vetoed any reverse mortgage, but one year later, he died, and his wife was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm. The widow’s banker asked Passarelli to research the possibility of a reverse mortgage. “By the time she came out of the hospital and rehab, we already had a plan to eliminate her mortgage payment and create a supplemental income stream so she could stay in her home for another six years,” says Passarelli. In later years, the woman downsized and then moved to a condo near her daughter. Passarelli was there every time, helping the family find reverse mortgage solutions. “I’ve helped her with three reverse mortgages, and they were all based on her needs at that time,” she says. “It’s been such a privilege to be part of families like that for so many years and to know I played a small part in helping them get what they needed.” As Passarelli notes, “If there’s anything true in the mortgage industry, it’s that what you knew yesterday isn’t necessarily true tomorrow. It’s important for all of us to continue to read, learn and listen.” That’s why, when the CRMP was first announced, she raised her hand immediately. In 2013, she became one of the first 64 CRMPs nationwide, and she was the first in Minnesota. She saw it as a chance to sharpen her skills and add knowledge to her toolbox. “Rather than be upset with an underwriter’s decision, I come to a conversation armed with factual data on the guidelines,” she says. “I use patient persistence. That’s my catchphrase: Don’t be emotional. Be educated.” She also took advantage of opportunities to learn the intricacies of financial planning in order to understand its pain points and “learn how to be part of the solution.” She applies the same approach to other colleagues, taking time in the scattered, post-pandemic era to contact forward mortgage professionals and real estate agents to ask how they’re doing. “Everybody in the mortgage industry is freaking out right now because interest rates are rising, but you don’t sign up for this industry if you’re not ready to ride the roller coaster,” she says. “This is always a good time to retool and find your purpose.” Increasingly, she is hearing from financial planners whose younger clients are dealing with the repercussions of their parents’ and stepparents’ financial dilemmas. “That’s been an eye-opening experience for a lot of the younger planners,” Passarelli says. “They haven’t really pondered how much a family member becoming hospitalized or disabled can really throw a wrench in their client’s financial plan.” In the communities she reaches, the CRMP means respect, Passarelli believes. It demonstrates the care she takes “to dig deep and learn more.” Finance industry professionals appreciate that she spells out “certified reverse mortgage professional” in her email because many will search for its meaning online. As for potential borrowers, they don’t often check, “but their children do.” “There’s an entry-level trust that the CRMP designation provides,” she says. Since her older daughter left for college recently, Passarelli has sought more work-life balance. She spends Minnesota’s warmer months in or on the lake near her home. Since the pandemic, she and her younger daughter have been delivering Meals on Wheels once a week. “It’s really fun because I do love our older, wiser generation,” she says. She also fosters rescue dogs and is a dog mom to two labs. Passarelli’s instinct for service was inspired by her grandmother. “She was a force to be reckoned with,” she says. “She somehow raised the whole family but also gave back to the community.” Passarelli has experienced the reverse mortgage industry as it evolved while retaining its power to impact lives. The crisis-driven situations in the early days are now sharing space with conversations that are more proactive than reactive. “Helping set up someone for success in their next chapter of life is a more holistic conversation that often involves input from several resources, like a CPA or wealth manager,” she says. “It’s fun to be part of a team with a shared goal for our clients.” CRMP: Across the Kitchen Table REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 15


AS THE 118TH U.S. Congress begins work this month, NRMLA and its lobbyists will be monitoring changes and keeping association members informed. But NRMLA’s three lobbyists say they are going into 2023 not expecting major legislation involving reverse mortgages. Watching Washington Lobbyists: New Congress Unlikely to Tackle Major Housing Legislation By Thomas A. Barstow Watching Washington continued on page 20 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023 19

David Horne, who is based in Washington, DC, says one reason is that the HECM program continues to gain acceptance on Capitol Hill among legislators, staff members and regulators partly because of the reforms implemented after the housing crisis 15 years ago. Horne credits those successes to NRMLA’s leadership that works closely with officials in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA). “Historically, NRMLA has been ahead of the curve in working with the agencies, including HUD, to put the appropriate guardrails on the HECM product. I would be surprised if there were additional regulations on the reverse mortgage product,” Horne says. “Congress is unlikely to impose big changes to the program in the near future.” Divided Government The 2022 election also cemented a divided government for at least the next two years, with the Democrats keeping control of the Senate and the Republicans gaining a majority in the House. The administration of President Joe Biden will concentrate on other issues as both parties prepare for the presidential election in 2024, observers say. “I don’t think we will see major housing legislation,” says Melody Fennel, a NRMLA lobbyist based in Alexandria, VA. However, she does expect the administration to tackle other housing matters, such as availability. “I think the focus will continue to be on addressing housing affordability and the strong and persistent need for an increase in housing supply. That’s what the [Biden] administration is focused on. That is what both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have looked at, too.” Scott Olson, who is based in Arlington, VA, says he, too, expects a continuation of what has happened in recent years. Over the past two years, Olson says, “almost nothing happened in Congress in terms of legislation affecting the reverse mortgage program or FHA.” Unless there is a severe economic downturn, the next two years will be similar, he says. Olson suggests that new money might become available for rental housing as a way for the Biden administration to address its concerns over affordability and housing access. Tweaking the HECM Program Horne says he would expect policymakers to continue to incrementally address lingering issues with the HECM program, noting more recent changes have been important but amounted to tweaks. For example, Horne points to FHA efforts to update and correct its “due and payable” requirements. Mortgage servicing companies now must provide notice to a borrower’s heirs that a HECM is due and payable within 30 days of the companies providing notice of the borrower’s death to the Secretary of HUD. The change, NRMLA and HECM servicers welcomed, gave servicers more time to send the notices to a borrower’s estate. “There are some issues that are outstanding, and they’re trying to address those issues,” Horne says. “But they are minutia, so it’s not something that Congress is likely to directly regulate. I don’t see any statutory changes to the program.” Horne says he would expect the House and the Senate to hold hearings on various housing topics as they usually do. “So, you might have hearings that may include FHA and, tangentially, reverse mortgages,” he says. “But I would be shocked if there are any in-depth hearings on mortgages in general, short of the one or two hearings they do every year.” The lobbyists expect federal regulators to focus on Biden’s mandate that all federal agencies look at all programs through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). “I believe all federal policy proposals will be made through the DEI lens into the foreseeable future,” Fennel says. “I don’t think that changes.” Over the past two years, forward and reverse mortgage companies have come under some scrutiny for marketing and advertising practices, including fines and other actions taken by the Consumer Financial Watching Washington continued from page 19 Watching Washington continued on page 22 20 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2023