MetLife Attempts Cross Selling With Mortgage Loans, But Not Reverses

image Like many in the industry, I continue to wait and see how MetLife plans to market its reverse mortgage business to its insurance agents and vice versa.  An article from the Dow Jones Newswire describes how the company is offering “forward” mortgage loans with its MetLife brand to credit worthy borrowers and then try to sell them traditional insurance products.   

"A lot of our agents really like the bank," said Bill Wheeler, MetLife’s chief financial officer, at the company’s investor day in June. "We’ve had a very surprising level of success of cross-sell between Internet customers [to whom] we then say, ‘Would you like to talk to a MetLife agent about your retirement needs and stuff like that?’ And you’d be surprised how good it’s been, but it’s small still."

MetLife entered the mortgage business when it purchased the origination and servicing business of First Tennessee Bank and then followed it up with EverBank Reverse.  Despite the housing markets problems, but MetLife’s origination business has been profitable said the bank’s president in a Dow Jones Newswires interview.  "I think we got into it at the right time," even though the housing market has gotten worse since MetLife closed the deal in August, said Donna DeMaio, the bank’s president.

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Analysts say MetLife may have a blueprint for how insurers can thrive as a bank holding company.  "MetLife clearly has a strategy where it wants to use its banking and mortgage services as a way to offer cradle-to-grave services to its customers," said Carmen Effron, an analyst with C.F. Effron Co. LLC in Weston, Conn. "It can get in the door with lending and deposit services, and then work on how to invest and what insurance products to use later." 

As to the success of its cross-selling efforts, a MetLife spokesman said the company does not release those figures, but said more than half of its approximately 8,400 MetLife agents had been trained in cross-selling its lending and insurance products.

As far as reverse mortgages and cross selling go, the company has strict guidelines which ensure that reverse mortgages are originated and sold only by reverse mortgage consultants, who are employees of MetLife Bank and sell no other financial products said a company spokesperson. 

He added that it’s absolutely against company policy to fund an investment product, including variable annuities or other investment products, with the proceeds of a reverse mortgage.

MetLife Tries Bank Cross-Selling Plan Via Mortgages

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  • As a person in the insurance/securities business (although mostly retired), this looks like a slippery slope to me. I really hope Snoopy is WIDE awake and has computer programs to detect the inevitable abusers who will try to get around the system and inappropriately cross-sell. (Something like pattern detection, I think.)

  • I wonder what the “cool-off” period is between funding and cross-selling a METLIFE product?

    “He added that it’s absolutely against company policy to fund an investment product, including variable annuities or other investment products, with the proceeds of a reverse mortgage.”

    I agree with dduck, this endevour is indeed a slippery slope. METLIFE has a great reputation in the industry but, mixing Insurance Products and Reverse Mortgages just doesn’t feel right.

  • Friend of mine is a Reverse Consultant for Met Life. They are absolutely prohibited from cross selling. They are not even able to carry a securities or insurance license. I sit on on the other side of the fence of the issue. I would rather see Met Life with internal controls work with thier clients vs outside reps who can try to sell any insurance the market. Some products like Long Term Care or Final Expense , etc are good planning tools. I think the main issue has always been the investing of borrowed money.

  • Paraphrasing, a while back, I’ve been told in this very forum that all insurance people are crooks, pushing products on poor uneducated seniors. Although this is untrue, it is true that like all businesses, there are some bad apples. These bad apples will find the unlicensed RM guys and tempt them with rewards. (Of course the RM guys could also seek out brokers to “work with”. (I know highly unlikely, right?)
    In any event there is too much of an opportunity for abusive cross-selling.
    Where I’m coming from: I believe, very strongly, that most people should have Long Term Care Insurance, and yet it is banned as abusive cross selling. A conundrum. I also believe that other insurance products and financial/estate planning might benefit a senior even though the “senior police” want to stop this.

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