Urban Acquires Guardian First Funding and Rights to Robert Wagner Campaign

Urban Financial Group has acquired the assets of Guardian First Funding Group along with the rights to a reverse mortgage lead generation campaign featuring Robert Wagner.

According to sources close to the deal, the acquisition closed late Friday afternoon and provides Urban with arguably the most recognized retail brand in the industry.

“Guardian is skilled at sourcing and converting high quality reverse mortgage leads and Mr. Wagner is one of the most recognizable and trusted spokespeople among seniors,” said Bryan Hendershot, CEO of Urban Financial.  “The combination of Urban and Guardian will be able to expand outreach to qualified homeowners considering a reverse mortgage.”

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Guardian’s headquarters in New York will continue to operate under the company’s founder Jason Levy and Kenny Peskin, chief operating officer.

“At Guardian, we help support seniors as they make decisions about their financial future,” said Levy. “As part of Urban, we’ll be able to maintain that approach while adding scale to feed wholesale operations. I’m eager to see what we can accomplish.”

Knight Capital Group acquired Urban earlier this year and the addition of Guardian gives them a strong brand along with a call center operation to expand their retail business.  Prior to the deal, Urban was the 7th largest retail reverse mortgage lender in the country.  Combined, the companies form the 4th largest retail reverse mortgage lender according to data from Reverse Market Insight.

Along with the retail, Urban operates the 3rd largest wholesale lender under the Reverseit! brand and plans to offer leads from the Robert Wagner campaign to brokers as well.

“Leads are important for brokers and with TV everyone can rest assure the leads are safe,” said Hendershot in an interview with RMD.  “Going forward, leads are a hot commodity and brokers will have first grabs at lead overflow.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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  • This is perhaps the most interesting merger yet.

    SLN developed perhaps the most sophisticated call room center operation for reverse mortgages in the short history of our industry. Will Urban Financial be able to do what KBC Bank could not? Which management group will ultimately emerge as the engine behind the combined operations?

    These kinds of mergers have yet to prove to be successful. They look promising from a strategic planning point of view but seem to lack a necessary ingredient to blossom. Perhaps Urban can provide the right incubator and ingredient.

    Did this merger color the article credited to Jason Levy on HECM Savers in Reverse Review last month? If so, how will this change in outlook impact operations?

    We have seen SLN offer these leads before. Then we saw them used to drive loans to its own operations. Will Urban use the leads in the same way?

  • Hmmm….once again I agree with The Critic, you have some very strong egos involved here. Bryan Hendershot, Jason Levy, and nothing was mentioned in the release about David Peskin.

    I wonder how this age old question will be answered over the next 6 months, “Who’s in charge of this operation?”

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