American Advisors Group (AAG) is continuing to drive top volume among reverse mortgage lenders, according to the latest Department of Housing and Urban Development data, reported by Reverse Market Insight (RMI).
AAG ranks as the No.1 Top-10 lender in May, with 1,382 loans closed during the month. One Reverse Mortgage LLC follows with 396 loans closed. AAG also ranks as the top-100 lender, year-to-date.
AAG attributes its success to training and customer service, mainly via its call center, Paul Fiore, executive vice president of retail sales with AAG, tells RMD.
“We really try to teach our loan officers and focus our team on our sales process,” Fiore says. “Although we are traditionally a call center-based business, we are not a one call close, sell you a loan at all costs, type of company. Our approach is very consultative and educational, and it is consistent throughout our entire sales team.
“We have metrics that we use to help us understand and see how well we are converting, and if any of those metrics are not being hit, we spend a lot of time dissecting the reasons why and game plan how to correct it.”
AAG also runs a national ad campaign featuring former Senator Fred Thompson, and rolled out two new commercials in May that feature the adult child and caregiver as vested parties in the reverse mortgage process—a departure from its traditional sales strategy.
AAG’s acquisition of other lenders this year, including Reverse Mortgage USA and Associated Mortgage Bankers‘ reverse mortgage division, has also helped the HECM loan giant stay on top this year, John Lunde, president of RMI, tells RMD.
While HECM endorsements among all lenders for May rose 7.9% to 4,498 loans in total, volume is still down from last year by 12.9%, RMI data show.
Lunde says some of the lower volume levels this year compared to last trace back to the two-program policy changes implemented by FHA in late 2013.
Looking to next month, he says, “For June, we can expect more of the same, lower levels than last year and not really expecting significant increases in volume even month over month.”
Fiore says AAG expects “that June will look similar to May overall [in regard to production volume]” and is encouraged by sales teams’ efforts that AAG will have a strong second half of 2014.
Other RMI findings include that competition growth declined by 2% in May from the previous month, and eight of the 10 regions tracked by RMI rose in May compared to the previous month, with the exception of Pacific/Hawaii, which dropped back to second place behind the Southeast/Caribbean.
Access the full report here.
Written by Cassandra Dowell