Under the leadership of reverse mortgage executives, marketers and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, the industry’s Extreme Summit, launched last year and backed by more than $2 million in lender capital is beginning to take stride.
The initiative has begun work on a television advertising campaign featuring the “new reverse mortgage,” showcasing the loan benefits following major product changes that were implemented over the course of 2013.
The industry is getting ready to roll out the new consumer-facing commercial directing prospective borrowers to learn more about the new reverse mortgage online. It will debut in three select markets this summer.
“There have been enough changes that it gives consumers the permission to say: “This is different,’” said Otto Kumbar, Liberty Home Equity Solutions CEO and Extreme Summit figurehead, during the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association western regional conference in San Diego last week. “They may want to take another look at it.”
In addition to the work the Extreme Summit initiative has accomplished from a marketing standpoint, the organization has worked also to establish an academic advisory council that will serve as an independent perspective on reverse mortgages.
“Academics often don’t know much about this product,” said Chris Mayer, professor of Real Estate and Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School and an executive with Longbridge Financial. “How do we bring basic information about the product? This is a product academics are inclined to like.”
The advisory board comprises academics Stephanie Moulton at The Ohio State University, Eric Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, Alicia Munnell of Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Merton.
“This is a great group of people who hopefully will form a basis for those being thought leaders and references for the press,” Mayer said.
NRMLA has also worked toward the goal of maintaining a 3-to-1 ratio of positive press stories about reverse mortgages, as a pillar of the Extreme Summit program.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker