All systems are go for California lender American Advisors Group after setting a new retail record with 754 loans in March and expectations for future growth through the addition of nearly 100 field retail officers—and counting.
AAG was one of only four top-10 lenders with a volume increase last month, along with Liberty Home Equity Solutions, One Reverse Mortgage, and Urban Financial of America, according to Reverse Market Insight data, as the industry faces headwinds from changes to the federal home equity conversion mortgage program. Including wholesale loans, AAG’s March funding numbers exceeded 1,000 loans.
The lender leads the industry in year-to-date volume, up 58% from 2013 with market share up 69% to 15.3%. Liberty is next with a 13.5% market share, followed by Security One with 12.5%.
“The growth is really mitigating the loss from the recent changes last year,” says Teague McGrath, chief marketing officer at AAG. “We planned and trained [our staff] very early on to what the changes meant, so we’re in a good place.”
March’s retail numbers mostly came from AAG’s internal call centers, he says, with improving conversion rates and a higher head count. The lender has notched more than 700 loans a month so far in 2014 for a total of 2,277—ahead of #2 lender Liberty Home Equity Solutions by 270 loans.
“The infrastructure we have in place and the marketing strategy we’ve got, coming out with the changes we expect—we think there will be further consolidation, and we see opportunity in that,” says McGrath.
AAG recently absorbed more than 90 field retail lenders from Associate Mortgage Bank’s reverse mortgage platform and Reverse Mortgage USA. While March’s sales volume wasn’t attributable to the larger retail force, McGrath says growing retail is one of the lender’s target areas, and senior vice president of sales Kevin Blakeney is leading the recruitment charge.
“We are very interested in further developing our field retail platform and allowing field reps to leverage our brand,” he says. “We have about 90 right now and that will certainly start to add to our overall volume down the road.”
The Orange, Calif.-based lender is looking to expand its field retail force to 200 this year, according to McGrath, who says AAG’s market share will increase “pretty significantly” once the AMB and RMUSA numbers are absorbed and could easily hit 30-35%. Together, the three companies represent 17.6% of the 2014 reverse mortgage market.
Wholesale growth is also a focus, with new offices being added: “All systems are go for us,” he says.
“AAG is projecting a record year for 2014 loan volume as a direct result of the hard work and dedication of our staff,” said CEO Reza Jahangiri in a statement. “Our service levels, pricing, sales acumen and brand awareness have created an exciting opportunity for the entire company.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace