Like many other reverse mortgage lenders, Urban Financial of America (UFA) has begun targeting its retail channel in an effort to grow its business and balance its loan portfolio.
But the No. 4-ranked lender has already made strides in this area, in significantly ramping up both retail loan volume and staff hiring in the past year, with plans to grow that side of the business even more in the coming 12 months.
“As we move forward, our main objective is to round ourselves out to be well-versed in different areas — the broker channel, wholesale and retail,” says Tom Holsworth, vice president of retail sales. However, “our growth [in retail] drives up Urban’s overall profitability.”
In the last 12 months, UFA has grown its retail unit count 150% and has added 40 retail employees nationwide, Holsworth says.
Urban ranked sixth overall in the retail rankings, with 1,285 loans for the 12 months through December 2014, according to Reverse Market Insight data. In comparison, it ranked first in the wholesale rankings with 4,793 loans during the same period.
Two of the lender’s five retail call centers, in particular, are expanding with new spaces and new staff members to accommodate — and enhance — the increase in production.
UFA’s Indianapolis call center has tripled in headcount since its inception in April 2014. Notably, all of the new hires at that location were referral-based through current employees, Holsworth says.
Additionally, its San Diego call center has added seven employees in the past year and will add another seven before potentially seeking more office space to expand further.
Urban’s other call centers are located Tulsa, Philadelphia and New York.
Looking ahead, Holsworth says the company is focused on continuing to expand its retail footprint by adding more loan officers to its call centers.
“Our growth strategy over the next 12 to 24 months is to continue to just add people to seats,” he says. “As long as the marketing is there, we’ll continue to add bodies.”
Written by Emily Study