Reverse Mortgage Funding rolled out a new processing service for independent brokers this week, and the Bloomfield, N.J.-based firm thinks the service will help make the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage marketplace more accessible to newcomers.
For a fee, participants in the program can use RMF’s staff to perform a host of critical origination functions, from reviewing credit reports to ordering appraisals to confirming property ownership information. In turn, RMF claims, third-party originators can spend more time making the personal contacts — either at the kitchen table or the financial advisor’s office — that drive HECM leads, and less time on the paperwork grind.
According to Mark O’Neil, RMF’s national sales leader for its wholesale channel, the company designed the program for both smaller brokers without significant back-office staff, and traditional “forward’ originators that may have sizable teams but relatively little experience with the nuts and bolts of reverse mortgage processing.
“We do see this as a way to grow the industry in that respect, and we do anticipate that there will be some larger brokers, and potentially lenders, that are new to this space,” O’Neil told RMD in a phone interview.
Though he declined to name specific examples, O’Neil said RMF has been in talks with bigger-name national and regional lenders that want to provide reverse mortgages to clients, but don’t currently offer the products in house. The industry has suffered from the departure of brand-name lenders like Wells Fargo and Bank of America in the past decade, and some observers have posited that a lack of blue-chip players in the industry hurts the HECM’s legitimacy in the eyes of the average borrower.
“One of our stated goals is to grow not only our business, but to grow the reverse mortgage industry, and we see this as one more step in that direction,” O’Neil told RMD. “This is going to break down one more barrier to them entering the reverse mortgage space.”
RMF launched the processing initiative as a pilot program over the winter, O’Neil said, with an official kickoff on May 1. He declined to comment on the number of independent brokers or lenders who have taken advantage of the service so far or the exact fee structure involved, though he added that RMF researched competitors’ products and attempted to price the product accordingly.
Written by Alex Spanko