Sept./Oct. 2023 RMM

MICHAEL G. BRANSON, CEO of All Reverse Mortgage Inc., Orange, CA, has worked in the mortgage business for 45 years, the last 18 devoted exclusively to reverse mortgages. In 2006, he was working for Pacific Community Mortgage, an Alternative-A (Alt-A) lender, when his mother approached him about getting a reverse mortgage. He didn’t know much about reverse mortgages, but he learned as much as he could in a short amount of time and helped his mother get one. The positive impact on his mother’s life inspired Branson to form All Reverse Mortgage (ARM), which consistently ranks among the Top 20 HECM lenders. Reverse Mortgage magazine sat down with Branson to learn more about ARM and what makes the company successful. Reverse Mortgage: Tell me about the reverse mortgage you made for your mom and how that experience led to the formation of ARM. Michael Branson: My mom came to me in 2005 asking about reverse mortgages and what I thought about them. I said, “You know, Mom, in all honesty, I have no idea. I’ve never done one, never been around them.” I worked for a forward mortgage company that originated Alt-A loans. I had been in the mortgage business for about 30 years, but I had never had any exposure to reverse mortgages. I told her I would look into it and get back to her. The more I learned about reverse mortgages, the more I liked what I saw. We were (Federal Housing Administration) FHA-approved and had to originate ten test cases before we could become approved to offer HECMs, so I enlisted the support and buy-in from the rest of our team, and together, we all decided to go for it. I told my mom that if she wasn’t in any huge hurry, we’d use her as one of our test cases. She was happy to do it. She was in no immediate need to get it. My mom was an active person. She went to Angels games, and she golfed, but she had to put a hold on a lot of this stuff because she ran out of money in the middle of every month, which happens to many seniors. She only had a pension. She wasn’t eligible for Social Security because she worked for the state. It turned out to be a good deal for her. The reverse mortgage provided a small line of credit to fix up the things she needed to do in her house and gave her some extra money every month. I started originating reverse mortgages exclusively in 2006 and founded All Reverse Mortgage in 2007. RM: Tell me about ARM. From what I’ve read, your whole family is involved in the company. MB: Yes. My son, Cliff, is my partner. My other son, Michael, is vice president of sales. Caren Dahmus is our financial controller and our resident FHA specialist. While she’s not technically family, she may as well be because she has worked with me for over 20 years. Our funding manager is my daughter, Jennie Hegner, and it was my wife, Denise Branson, who set up all the closings, post-closings and insuring at the company before she handed the reins over to Jennie when she retired last year. We have other employees who’ve been with us for 15, 20 years. Between sales and operations, we’ve had as many as 35 employees, but we’ve had to pare that down to about 22 right now because of the current environment we’re operating in. RM: How many states are you licensed in? MB: We’re currently licensed in 15 states, but ARM has been licensed in as many as 18 states. If a state doesn’t produce for us and it becomes more of a regulatory burden, then we’ll leave. We don’t do direct marketing. We Michael Branson, CEO, ​ All Reverse Mortgage Inc. By Darryl Hicks Michael Branson From the Top 10 REVERSE MORTGAGE / SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2023