NRMLA Board Approves Public Affairs Campaign, Will Lenders Support the Plan?

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.

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  • What targeted audiences? None was listed in the remarks.

    For some $2,000,000 per year seems unimaginably large but it is hardly a drop in the bucket. I hope there is a very detailed plan in place quickly. Yes, NRMLA needs to listen to the advice of its consultants but I hope the consulting firm is not both creating and directing this plan.

    If the NRMLA board does not own this plan and control its operation, we all will lose. It is easy to hire a consulting firm so that if the plan fails, the consultants are to blame. While some of the ideas discussed here and in other forums sound good, no one (I repeat no one) seems to have stepped forward to take hold of these ideas to form a framework from which the PR firm can provide a well designed strategy. Describing what media will be used and how things will be redesigned does not substitute for a well thought out concept and general framework.

    I hope two years from now we are NOT discussing how the PR firm failed us.

  • I agree with The_Critic again, what is wrong with me?

    In all seriousness, I honestly hope this program is outrageously successful but it seems like NRMLA is already way behind. This type of effort should have been introduced within weeks of McCaskill's hearings but here we are still in the “planning stages” almost 2 years later, wondering if everyone will support it.

    Even worse, Peter sounds like just those he talks to all the time in DC, politicians. “The final decision will be made in the weeks ahead”? This program should be kicked off with “red-hot” urgency, yet everything stated in the above article makes me think that the only thing we will be talking about in 2 years is “When are we going to start that PR campaign?”

    All this said, I am a member of NRMLA and I wholeheartedly support this proposed program. I just wish we could see a stronger “call to action” by Peter and the NRMLA Board.

    • reversemaniac,

      It is hard to believe that we are so much in agreement.

      As members of NRMLA we hope the very best for the campaign but that does not mean we will not be pushing to follow its development very closely. Not only do we have money at stake but we also have our future in it.

      • Mr. Critic and Mr. Reversemaniac,

        How can you two possibly know how much strategizing has gone on? How the program will be kicked off? What it has required to fund it? How many experienced marketers have had input?

        Isn't it time you both stopped making daily critical comments about things you know absolutely nothing about? It does not make you look good–which you obviously know or you wouldn't be hiding behind aliases.

      • Marty,

        I guess you do not see what my point is.

        It is one thing to get a lot of advice, input, and ideas and then hire someone to fulfill their objectives. It is an entirely different issue to do exactly the same things but do it for the purpose of helping YOU getting the job done right. In the first case it is a matter of getting a job done but in the second, YOU are the one getting the job done while hiring others to help you get it done right. In the first case there is little ownership involved. In the second it is all about YOUR responsibility to insure the job not only gets done but gets done right because it is your reputation that is on the line not your consultants'.

        I am merely expressing my desire to see the board take ownership and primary responsbility for getting the job done right. I hope they will not simply put it on the staff of NRMLA and the outside consultants to see it through.

        Now as to your comment, did I question the amount of strategizing that went on either in quantity or quality? Did I criticize how the campaign will be kicked off? Did I question the amount of funding? Did I question the amount of experienced marketers who have had input? So what is the point of your blog? Is it merely to attack on a personal basis the fact you think we criticize too greatly?

        These little snipes about using aliases are ridiculous. How does anyone really know that the author of the above comment was actually Marty Bell? Neither the Internet nor blogging were created for identifying the user. The purpose of blogging is the expression of ideas and opinions, not the domination of personalities. Marty, you have no idea if I am even male or female or if I have a college degree or am a janitor.

        Here ideas dominate.

      • Our culture is, sadly, predisposed to promote “what's wrong with it”. A quality campaign to gain positive PR is overdue. Those of us in origination experience the emotional reward of changing lives every time we close a reverse mortgage. I would be more than willing to contribute if my lender would match my contribution.

  • Marty,

    I concur with everything the Critic has written with an additional question and comment.

    How could any”regular member of NRMLA possibly know the answers to your questions since you and the Board have kept everything to yourselves? You are so comfortable cloaking your self in condescending comments yet you refuse to keep the membership apprised of what's going on. Your response is arrogant and completely unwarranted.

    If you would please re-read the Critic and my postings you will notice that we are both in support of the PR campaign. The Critic has his concerns, and rightfully so, about how the program will be shaped and managed and I have my concerns over possible delays in getting it off the ground.

    Marty, if you can't stand the heat…..

  • Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!, NRMLA has recognized the need for a very positive PR campaign for RM. $15 per loan is a small price to pay if a good PR campaign sparks HECM sales again.

    It is a shame that McCaskill appears to have accomplished her goal of destroying the program in light of the 10% drop in principle limit during a time when low property values and lack of equity had already made it next to impossible to make a loan work. As usual, the senator probably reacted to a story she was told by a relative or constituent without getting all the facts first. She was looking for publicity without any consideration to what she was really doing to the senior homeowner in this country.

    I am wondering where NRMLA was when all that was happening. I realize that the Gov has the gold and he who has the gold rules but did NRMLA make a strong case to prevent the reduction? Did they bother to meet with McCaskill? I do not remember reading anything being put out by NRMLA to contradict the senator's interference or the limit reduction. The only thing I remember is a letter that went out about the law suit that was filed in CA. I would like to hear Marty Bell's position on NRMLA's apparent lack of active participation in helping save HECM.

    We members are pretty much kept in the dark unless we have the money to attend the conventions all over the country. We are RM originators. Most of us do not have the money to fly all over the country since most of us are suffering from the acute drop in HECM sales.

    • This is misinformation. Senator McCaskill had no involvement in the 10% reduction. This was an action taken by FHA to make sure the insurance fund is revenue neutral, which is a legal requirement. NRMLA has reported this frequently in our communications and has had FHA representatives explain it repeatedly at all of our meetings.

  • Well, most anything can help… I do have to say, that I am glad the media is off the “trash reverse mortgage train” and has moved on to the health insurance companies!

  • We share with our members via our Monday Report, Reverse Mortgage Magazine, frequent member alerts, our website, five conferences this year, free webinars, meetings of 14 committees on a regular basis, a monthly board meeting, a weekly executive committee meeting and daily phone calls from morning to night. We thrive on participation. The people who make the effort and participate remain informed.

    If you want to know what is going on at NRMLA, get yourself more involved.

    And, please, no one buys the argument that anonymouys blogging is acceptable when important issues are involved. It may be okay for dating sites, but doesn’t belong here. If you want anyone to take you seriously, reveal yourselves. Whom the argument comes from is as relevant as the argument, if not more so.

  • I really am dismayed! It is amazing how some people love to complain and pick everything apart. I've seen nothing but negative comments about how NRMLA does nothing to promote our industry and now when a plan is being put in place all the “critics” jump out of the woodwork!

    Critic: You do not speak for the rest of us although you seem to think so with your long winded boring comments! No matter what the subject you seem to have an opinion and God forbid anyone disagree's with you. You always have to get in the last word!

    How many loans do you do per year? Is the $15.00 going to break you? We do not constantly need your two cents both literally and figuratively.

    Thank you Marty for your comments!

    • treverse,

      Did you read my comments? What do you think this means at the end of my first comment: “… the NRMLA board… I wish them all the very best and will do what I can to support it. I know my firm does.” We will pay thousands this year alone; how about you? I strongly support NRMLA and attend many of its events even travelling across the country to do so. Do you?

      Worse yet, you use an alias which Marty deplores. If you actually support what Marty is saying, use your actual name. He would tell you this is no dating website. Those are not my words.

      Your comment is nothing more than a personal attack. You can do better than that. Or maybe I am just wrong again….

  • I believe critic and reversemaniac want answers about the campaign. I don't think that is too much to ask Marty? Regardless of their “real” names they want answers? Not sure why it matters they reveal their “real” names to get their questions answered? Please explain and lets get the answers.

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