American Advisors Group (AAG) announced this week that it is getting into the wholesale reverse mortgage business. With a large retail operation and brand powered by spokesman and former Senator Fred Thompson, the company plans to build from that momentum and provide the industry with another stable liquidity source.
“We have built one of the most successful retail businesses and brands, and now we plan on rolling that same customer focus and mentality into a wholesale division,” said Reza Jahangiri, CEO of AAG during an interview with RMD.
AAG’s new division will be lead by Michael Berkley, who will serve as the vice president of its wholesale business. While relatively new to the reverse mortgage business, Berkley brings almost 30 years of mortgage experience in different channels including wholesale to the table.
“I’m excited about joining the AAG team and I can tell it’s going to be an exciting place to help grow [AAG’s business],” Berkley said.
In addition to Berkley, AAG has brought on former Arizona-based MetLife wholesale fulfillment center including nine people and one of its top account executives, Cheryl Chargin. While at MetLife, Chargin was one of the the company’s top producers and has more than 10 years of experience in the reverse mortgage business.
At this time, Chargin is the only AE on the team, but during her tenure with MetLife, she was doing roughly $30 million a month of business, Berkley said. AAG plans to bring on additional AEs, but is planning the moves carefully.
“We’re looking for controlled growth out of the gate because we will not allow the customer service of our partners to be impacted,” Berkley said.
With so many different exits in the reverse mortgage business over the last year, now is the perfect time for AAG to step into the market, said Jahangiri.
“We feel the timing is very good considering the recent departures of major lenders from the industry,” he said. “Within the next 18 months, we expect to be one of the top 2 or 3 wholesale players in the market.”
AAG will have plenty of competition, several new wholesale lenders have opened up but none have nearly as large of a brand.