Nov/Dec 2023 RMM

From the Top From the Top continued on page 12 discuss how the reverse mortgage works. We’re not the No. 1 originator in the business. We know it, and that’s OK. We know who we are. We service our branches well. We want to do more business organically by growing the knowledge within our forward loan officer network. At the end of the day, I think that we’re good at knowing who we are and taking great care of clients. RM: How many people are part of the reverse mortgage team? In how many states do you offer reverse mortgages? DL: We have 19 people in various roles. We are licensed in 49 states. A lot of our business comes from the Western U.S., so California, Oregon and Washington, but with that said, we obviously do loans throughout the nation. When a loan officer in one of our branch offices encounters a prospective reverse mortgage client, our job is to educate the loan officer. We provide the quotes and the loan packages so that the loan officer has all the right information for the client’s situation, including the right product for them. Our job is to support their efforts so that the expertise that they may not have, we do have, and we fill in the gaps for them so that the clients are well taken care of. RM: That sort of answers my next question, which is do you allow the forward mortgage salespeople to originate reverse mortgages, or does a firewall separate the two? It sounds like you do allow them to originate reverse mortgages, but it’s managed within your department. DL: That’s a good way to put it. Our culture at APM is a culture of choice. A lot of top-producing, forward loan officers don’t want to do reverse mortgages because they don’t want to learn it. They don’t spend the time, and you get that, so they’ll just refer it over and we’ll take care of it. Other loan officers say, “This is my realtor’s mom; I want to be the originating loan officer.” We’ll put them through training sessions, run the quotes, provide the information and, as you say, manage it within our group to help that loan officer compliantly take care of the client. RM: You’ve managed the reverse mortgage division since 2005 and consistently rank in the top 20 when it comes to reverse mortgage originations. To what do you attribute your success? DL: This gets back to what I said earlier, which is we know who we are. We focus on our business model. We’re not going to suddenly buy a bunch of TV time or hire a professional spokesman. We’re going to connect with realtors and financial advisers, and we’re going to help our branches have conversations with those professionals. That way the industry professional can refer their clients to our loan officers with the knowledge that this loan is going to help the client financially—to afford the services that they need in their life. At the same time, they can do strategic things to help them get through retirement without running out of money. Another big focus is insurance. The rising cost of homeowners insurance is becoming a big problem not only in California but across the country. Here’s another funding source that could help somebody stay in their house and afford the coverage that they should have. RM: Interesting. I had never considered that sales angle before, but it makes sense. DL: Yeah, we’re talking to insurance agents saying, “Hey, your client may not be able to get insurance right now. In California, three major carriers—that comprise most of the market share in the state—stopped writing new policies for the most part.” There’s an insurance outlet in California called the Fair Plan, and the example an insurance executive gave me was, “Look, you go from $1,200 a year for your current policy. Now, you must go to the Fair Plan to find coverage, and it might be, depending on where the property is located, $5,000 a year. Plus, you have to get a wraparound policy for liability and the other coverages, and that’s another $1,500. So, the policy went from $100 a month to $550 a month.” It’s not just California that has a problem. It’s a United States problem. It’s a world problem. Watch the news. Everywhere there are wildfires, tornadoes and other disasters. If you want to stay in your house and your insurance suddenly goes up five times what it used to be, that’s a problem. We’re looking for a way to help clients. That’s a place where they’re going to have a pain point where we can help. REVERSE MORTGAGE / NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2023 11