Reverse Mortgage Pro to Lead Texas Mortgage Bankers Association

It would seem like good news for reverse mortgage professionals in Texas, where in May one of their own becomes president of the state mortgage bankers association, the largest of its kind in the country.

W. Scott Norman, MetLife’s area manager for reverse mortgage business there, tells RMD he is eager to take the TMBA reins this spring and establish the association’s first reverse mortgage committee as part of “an effort to expand that sector of the membership.” Norman, who is based in the state capital of Austin, insists: “We must make sure we do a better job of marketing reverse mortgages for what they are: a prudent financial product for seniors.”

The incoming TMBA president, who spent eight years working for Financial Freedom prior to joining MetLife in 2008 – and boasts of being ”part of the original lobby team to bring reverse mortgages to Texas in 1999” – identified the top priority for his one-year term.

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“We want the HECM-for-purchase to be made available,” says Norman, noting that the product is now constitutionally prohibited in the state. “We have already drafted the [necessary] legislation,” he reports, “and [we are] in the early stages of working for sponsors in the House and Senate.” He puts at “75 percent,” the chances of succeeding with this initiative.

Asked about the secondary market for reverse mortgages, Norman insists he is “very confident that we’ll have a proprietary product in the next nine to 15 months,” explaining that “we’ve just broken 2 percent of penetration [nationally for reverse mortgages] and the market is still coming towards us in force. There are many people on Wall Street [who like the product] and many opportunities for investors to get into the business the right way.”

His association members continue to close more reverse mortgages each year, says Norman, citing the following numbers for the Lone Star State: 2009: 7,495 loans; 2008: 7,087; and 2007: 5,738. The TMBA will host its annual reverse mortgage day on August 3 in Dallas, which “next to NRMLA [events], is the largest of its kind,” according to Norman.

Written by Neil Morse

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  • Scott has the right idea, just the wrong message when he says: “We must make sure we do a better job of marketing reverse mortgages for what they are: a prudent financial product for seniors.”

    While I agree with the implied thought, reverse mortgages are not and never have been “prudent.” However, many times those who have other cash resource options have exercised their prudence and made a prudent decision in acquiring a reverse mortgage. But unfortunately it is also true that a few have been imprudent in acquiring a reverse mortgage. It is not the product that is prudent or not prudent; it is the person who possesses or the decision which displays prudence.

    I hope we do not see a new myth forming around reverse mortgages, calling THEM “prudent.”

    Scott is absolutely right that our marketing is deficit. Rising to a 2% level of just a very small segment of the population in 20 years is hardly laudable. We need to reach trusted advisors who will turn the tide of the existing bias against this product. So far we have advertised the emotional impact of what this product can provide but have failed to market its potential but hidden financial and economic attributes. The latter seems much harder (and financially less rewarding, at least at first) to market.

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