Reverse Mortgage Lender Rolls Out Celebrity Media Campaign

image The reverse mortgage industry has been without a celebrity spokesperson for a while, but American Advisors Group (AAG) is filling the void.  The Irvine, CA based reverse mortgage lender named film and television actor Peter Graves as its company spokesperson for a national media campaign beginning Oct. 12 said a company statement.

The Graves announcement is the second half of a two part national media campaign started lasted month by the company which details personalized stories of how reverse mortgages have provided much needed relief from their current financial hardship.

The new series of TV ads coincides with the reverse mortgage originator’s release of a new informational DVD, brochure and website launch. Mr. Graves said; “It’s wonderful to be part of a company that places customers first and is assisting seniors across the country to improve their lives – AAG really is helping seniors live a better life.”

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“We’re very excited to have a Hollywood legend like Mr. Graves representing AAG and this important financial product for seniors,” said Reza Jahangiri, CEO of AAG. The national television campaign will better educate seniors about reverse mortgages and promote the personal and patient service AAG provides, he said.

According to the release, Graves was a favorite amongst senior audiences in AAG’s pre-selection testing, is best-known for his starring role in the television series “Mission: Impossible”.  He has won several different awards including a Golden Globes and an Emmy.  His recent roles include “Men in Black” in 2002 and host of Biography on A&E for 58 episodes from 1994-2006.

You can see the video below.

American Advisors Group – Peter Graves Update from John Yedinak on Vimeo.

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    • The Robert Wagner ads in the LA area are very toned down from the SLN days and very generic with a Guardian First banner at the bottom. What company is using them on the East Coast?

      • This may be a redundant reply. The first one may be lost in cyberspace.
        It could have been Guardian, I don't remember (I was busy looking for the reasons Obama should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize). OK, a off topic cheap shot, sorry.

  • It is very good to see Peter Graves joining himself with this industry.

    What is not good is to see the actual name of the company he signed up with. This is not a condemnation of the company but of its name.

    How is a firm of alleged advisors so dependent for their livelihood on the commissions (origination fees) they gain from selling products? Do any of those who render advice on reverse mortgages ever get paid by their employer based on the advising services they provide or the sales they make? Maybe we just live in a society where things are so blurred that we must add adjectives to the word “advisor” like “independent” to denote those who really advise seniors from those who are advising on the products they sell. Does this company provide a disclaimer that the fee that is charged to the borrower is based on making a sale not for rendering advice? They should.

    Another customer based entity names the members of the sales force it “trains,” certified consultants. The chief trainer admonishes the industry to be professional and openly lectures on the fostering of professionalism. He authored an expensive book describing and promoting credibility within the reverse mortgage industry. Yet when it comes to describing the difference between true independent advisors and sellers of the products upon which advice is being rendered, he calls them both consultants. Why? It seems if you blur the two distinct functions, your sales force will look like it is providing reasoned and unbiased analysis and recommendations rather being part of a sales force.

    For example, when someone is trained to rebut that “reverse mortgages are not expensive when compared to…”, the trainer is not providing a foundation for the rendering of unbiased advice but rather is promoting a passionate rebuttal to help sell a product. Usually this rebuttal describes moving and other FHA mortgages. One of our industry leaders got trapped by this rebuttal in a meeting of reporters. One reporter unmercifully took him to task. As a salesman he did a great job but as an advisor or a consultant, he never addressed the most basic issue, the circumstances of the mythical borrower. The industry leader did what he does best, advocate; he is very good for our industry and understandably fell down in this meeting. He did what sales people and advocates do.

    If the trainer was truly training consultants, there would be at least as much time spent on training on how to identify and research the alternatives appropriate for seniors in specific situations, determine their related costs, and present the results in a highly summarized and meaningful manner. A review of the alternatives would be made by supervisors and the consultant would present the findings to the client with a fee charged to the client for the services rendered. Is that done?

    The trainer’s consultants spend little time providing information about minimizing amounts due or costs or helping seniors determine financially healthy uses of the proceeds and creating full or partial pay back scenarios for the borrowers over the lifetime of the loan. Many times like ads, the so called consultants mildly entice by “digging a little beneath the surface”, that is, initiating conversations about vacations, new furnishings, and buying other unnecessary but desirable commodities and products in the same way as their ads. There is nothing wrong with that if you are a salesperson….

    Why so many members of our industry spend so much time and energy finding titles and names for what they do rather than describing themselves by what they are, seems so disingenuous and hardly fosters professionalism or credibility.

    Provide the services your title designates, not what it does not. If you are a consultant, be a consultant. If an advisor, be an advisor. But if you are an originator be an optimistic and unashamed originator.

  • Cynic,
    Based on your statement, how do you feel about the name Financial Freedom, is that 100% finanical freedom just by doing a reverse mortgage what about Bank of America, is there no other bank in the country than B of A? You can use this example in so many industries and companies, the arguement could go on for days…Just look at all the company names within our industry as an example…you surely must know most of them.
    Maybe you should appreciate the fact that not everyone does business the same way and instead of being so cynical, be a little more optimistic about people trying to do business the right way instead of everyone within the media who continually point fingers and blame. Let's be positive about this news and not so “cynical”

    • Mr. Rizzo,

      It is good to be positive but it is horrible to be a Pollyanna in an industry that is under a microscope.

      Like I said, it is VERY GOOD that Mr. Graves is now associated with our industry. How much more positive do you demand?

      It is one thing to be vague about the products or services provided but it is an entirely different issue to be misleading. While not happy with being vague, if we fail to condemn the use of misleading names, how bad does that make our entire industry look. This is not cynical, this is just good business practice.

      How you do business does not change what it is you provide or sell. Does a policeman who delivers a baby suddenly become a doctor? If you explain law to customers, does that make you an attorney?

      Federal law makes it clear we are originators. The industry does the same. Let's be what we are and not try to be what we are not. If you can charge for your services as an advisor or consultant, do so. However, if you do it as part of attempting to originate a HECM, be prepared to deal with the HUD IG.

  • I didn't check the author before I read the Cynic's post. It's a rehash of past posts, just like most of the articles we have to read each day are a rehash of inaccuracies about us, and reverse mortgages.

    Mr. Rizzo, everyone is entitled to there opinion, even if it's ridiculous. Your observations and response is right on.

    And yes, Admin, you need to watch more tv to stay on top of things.

    • Mr. floridareversemortgageguy,

      To complain that the comment is ridiculous or full of cuts and pastes is your prerogative; however, I challenge you to present your claimed inaccuracies. It is easy to take cheap shots and much more difficult to itemize or explain why they are inaccurate.

      • When I spoke about inaccuracies I was referring to the articles and stuff we see in the media each day, not your comment. I apologize if I gave that impression.

  • I think the Bigger point to this News Release is a certain Company, whatever the name, has done the whole Reverse Industry a Big favor by hiring a very well known and liked spokesperson to promote Reverses to the general population.
    And yes, I also saw the New Robert Wagner Ad on TV the other night as well (the Military Channel), and am Very thankful another company picked up that branding for the sake of keeping Reverses (in a Positive light) before the public.

  • It is pretty hard to call yourself a “consultant” or an “advisor” when you have no personal contact with your borrower. So from that perspective,The_Cynic makes a good point. If you have personal contact in the borrowers home,I usually find that the senior is seeking ways to get money for survival and not a “retirement plan.” So call yourself whatever you want but you are a salesman first and good salesman are motivated by money and don’t want fixed incomes.

  • Why don't you just frankly and honestly admit most of you are Professional Salesmen (Women) and be damn proud of it. Selling Senior Clients Reverse Mortgages with knowledge and sincerity: Showing struggling Seniors how to financaily get through the last years of one's life a little easier. Yes, a reverse mortgage costs the borrower money but so does a trip to the nursing home. And don't talk to me about selling one's home: Most Seniors WANT to remain in their homes until they die. There are some deadbeats in this industry who make a living off a Loan Originator's hard work but, for the most part, those who toil in this Industry are a Godsend for Seniors.

  • It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Senior Lending Network found out the hard way that television advertising and a celebrity spokesperson cost lots and lots of REAL dollars. Now – SLN saw a dramatic uptick in their origination business, possibly as a direct result of the advertisiting. But where do they stand now?

    Interesting as well that JAM Equity Partners was an equity investor in both SLN and now AAG. Anyone else seeing a theme here?

    I'm all for name recognitition and growth of our industry. I will just be curious to see how AAG handles the cost to benefit analysis of thie venture as time goes on.

  • I think we all agree, selling a reverse mortgage should be done professionally and whether one sells the product face to face or over the phone, personalization of service can be accomplished. I know people selling face to face who truly lack that personal touch, they are just missing the key little things. Maybe AAG or anyone that sells over the phone is able to provide that personalized approach. If they are really taking the time to understand each situation individually, and determining if a reverse mortgage is the proper answer, it can be accomplished. Look at JB Nutter, we all loved them because of how personal their approach was to wholesale, and that is phone based. As a guy who sells over the phone, I can tell you that I take the time to really get to know my clients, understand the situation, hold their hand throughout the process and absolutely will tell them if I think a reverse mortgage is not the right choice for them….and I love being a salesperson but a well intentioned salesperson.

  • >>Isn't AAG a call center?

    No. At first I thought they're brokering their HECM's, because the licensing section of their website says “We arrange but do not make loans”. But they're interviewing for a DE Underwriter right now, so that makes me think they're doing them in-house. Maybe they're transistioning right now?

      • SLN was a call center. AAG hired most of their people. AAG is at least partly call center based.

      • Mr. floridareversemortgageguy,

        Thanks. Personally I admired what David Peskin established. It is too bad their model would not work.

  • How are the call centers impacted by S.A.F.E? Do all their originators have to be properly licensed and or registered in every state that person originates a loan in?

  • Anyone with a brain would have to admire what he accomplished, no question.
    What about the medium and long term viability of that model? Given the regulatory environment, will the fact that there is no personal contact with the call center model cause regulators to seek tighter regulations on call center lenders making it even more expensive for them to do business? Also, with the new responsibility placed on Direct Lenders for their correspondent's loans, will lenders be willing to keep call center lenders on as correspondents if they come under closer scrutiny? These may sound like crazy questions but who expected the crazy stuff that happened this year?

  • I think most people admire Mr. Peskin for doing what he did.

    What about the medium and long term viability of that model? Given the regulatory environment, will the fact that there is no personal contact cause regulators to seek tighter regulations on call center lenders making it even more expensive for them to do business? Also, with the new responsibility placed on Direct Lenders for their correspondent's loans, will lenders be willing to keep call center lenders on as correspondents if they come under closer scrutiny? These may sound like crazy questions but who expected the crazy stuff that happened this year?

    • Hey floridareversemortgageguy,

      Your questions are not crazy. Many of us just feel inadequate attempting to answer them because we do not face those issues and have not researched them.

      • Me either! It's fun talking and thinking about it.

        With all this stuff going on the only way to succeed is to put on blinders and ear plugs, and do the things each day that honestly make you feel that you made progress.

  • SLN did not go out of business due to losses. It was a profitable business. In fact its marketing strategies have been copied by many and helped to fuel the growth of this industry. Those that criticize advertising should thank the many that advertise…it makes your jobs easier.

    • reversemarketing,

      So if SLN did not have losses, why did KBC let it go out of business? It certainly was suffering losses before KBC Bank acquired them.

  • I've read the model was profitable, but Management made more money then the other Wholesalers, absorbing the profit.

    They'd probably still be in business if they weren't so arrogant.

    I liked them a lot when they were only a lead provider, and even when they initially became a bank. I ran a loan through them every now and then, because they wouldn't let me buy any leads unless I did some business with them. But I stopped doing business with them entirely when they said I had to run ALL my business through them in order to receive leads, even self generated business. How arrogant can you get? I don't miss them at all.

  • I’ve read the model was profitable, but Management made more money then the other Wholesalers, absorbing the profit.rnrnThey’d probably still be in business if they weren’t so arrogant.rnrnI liked them a lot when they were only a lead provider, and even when they initially became a bank. I ran a loan through them every now and then, because they wouldn’t let me buy any leads unless I did some business with them. But I stopped doing business with them entirely when they said I had to run ALL my business through them in order to receive leads, even self generated business. How arrogant can you get? I don’t miss them at all.

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