As the first industrywide effort of its kind, a new campaign is under way to revolutionize the public perception of reverse mortgage products—and it has financial backing to make some serious headway over the next five years.
The concept, coined the “Extreme Summit,” by those who are leading the charge, including lenders and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, is supported by several lenders and industry participants that have committed a collective $2 million so far to pilot some of the ideas, from advertising to geo-targeting and raising awareness about reverse mortgages across media outlets.
Contingent upon the success of the pilots, that investment could grow exponentially over the course of the coming years.
The effort has been a year in the making after it stemmed from a brainstorm session during a NRMLA conference last year, led by Liberty Home Equity Solutions CEO Otto Kumbar.
“It started with a monstrous brainstorm session, and the decision to keep just the best ideas in terms of turning the product reputation around,” Kumbar told RMD. “The major firms are committing an [unprecedented amount of funding] compared to what we’ve done in the past.”
The initiative is working with advertising professionals and other participants within the industry and outside, hinging on three principals: geo-targeting toward the areas of greatest opportunity, driving “3:1 positive” impressions in the news, and rebranding.
While the team has been relatively mum on details, lenders are meeting regularly toward the pilots, which are expected to roll out in the coming year. The Extreme Summit welcomes all participants toward growing incremental volume through its efforts. All ideas are open for consideration, Kumbar says.
“If someone comes in with a better idea tomorrow, this is survival of the fittest,” he says. “It’s not a top-down organization. An idea has to win everyone else over in order to get instituted.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker