While the National Reverse Mortgage Lender Association driven Public Affairs campaign wasn’t mentioned during any of the sessions RMD attended at its Road Show in Atlanta last week, we managed to get a few details out from behind the scenes.
As we reported earlier, NRMLA board members were scheduled to vote on using a $15 fee per loan closed in order to fund the media outreach campaign. Board members arrived a day before the conference and the fee structure was easily approved according to several people who attended the meeting. While the exact details of the campaign have yet to be decided, “The purpose of a public affairs campaign is to educate targeted audiences, challenge critics who spread misinformation, respond to press coverage and re-position the image of a product or industry,” said Peter Bell, President of NRMLA in an email to RMD.
The association is looking at four different firms who have each presented their stratgey to the board members. “Each of the strategic relations firms we are interviewing for our public affairs campaign has their own unique creative approaches. But we expect the campaign will include research and message development, targeted briefings, story placement in both local and national publications, federal and state advocacy, extensive data collection and a redesign of our consumer website,” said Bell.
In an email to members, NRMLA said the final vendor selection will take place in the weeks ahead with a decision to me made by a committee appointed by NRMLA Chairman Bart Johnson and Joe DeMarkey.
With the boards approval, NRMLA told RMD it will be reaching out to lenders and their respective wholesale operations to get everyone on board with the initiative. However, whether or not lenders will be willing to “sign off” on the proposal is yet to be seen. One top reverse mortgage lender with both wholesale and retail divisions told RMD it has tentatively agreed to participate but stressed that “it’s going to take everyone’s commitment or it won’t work.” They added that both retail and wholesale lenders will have to agree to the “tax” in order to fund the public affairs campaign accordingly.