Five More Tips for Acing Reverse Mortgage Originations Over the Phone

The debate between adherents of the kitchen-table approach and the call-center model will likely never have a clear victor, as both types of loan origination — for either forward or reverse — have their merits.

But in a world where homeowners who can qualify for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage are increasingly tech-savvy, developing a clear virtual and over-the-phone origination strategy is becoming increasingly important for small and large lenders alike.

RMD on Monday brought you five tips for success at the call-center lending game yesterday; today, we round out our list with an additional five ways to connect with prospective borrowers and explain an intricate product from afar.


Tip 6: Keep it simple.
You might be a reverse mortgage expert, but your client is not. Don’t pile on the facts or drill down to the minutia.

“Make sure that you’re answering their questions directly, keeping everything as simple as possible,” says Eric Hurtt, a loan officer with Liberty Home Equity Solutions. “Be careful not to overwhelm the homeowner with too much information.”

Tip 7: Smile and dial.
Working in a call center can be trying, as the majority of your leads won’t evolve. It’s important to remember these odds.

“Only 3% of the leads you talk to are ever going to fund,” says Mehdi Amini, a direct-to-consumer expert and founder of American Mortgage Group, a branch of HighTechLending. “You’ve got to be able to smile and dial. Making so many calls can be very tough for people, and to do that day in and day out, it can get it you. But you can’t quit; you’ve got to know it takes time.”

Amini says it’s important to be upbeat, because a client can read your negativity: “Don’t come to work with your own worries. That will come through over the phone. When you’re down on yourself it can make you sound desperate. You have to have confidence.”

Tip 8: Audit yourself.
Take a minute to review every conversation and learn from it. Sharpen your skills by constantly striving to do better.

“I tell people to audit every conversation,” David Karcher, regional sales manager at FirstBank, says. “Hang up the phone and take 30 seconds before you make the next call to say, ‘How did that go? What went well about it? What didn’t go well? What would I change?’”

Tip 9: Learn from your colleagues.
Listen to your fellow LOs and learn from their styles. Maybe they explain something in a better way or they have an approach you could learn from.

“We all work together in cubicles, so we are hearing each other,” says Karcher. “Iron sharpens iron, so we’re continually helping each other just by hearing each other interact with customers on the phone.”

Tip 10: Be passionate.
Remember the difference the product can make, and focus on the impact you can have on people’s lives.

“You have to have a passion for the product and for the people you serve,” Karcher says. “For every closed loan, there is a life and a family that has been positively impacted in a very powerful and meaningful way. That’s what’s got to get you up and motivate you every day.”

Written by Jessica Guerin

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  • These are good tips but seem to be geared more to the call center originator! Nothing wrong in that but we need to start going back to more of the basics.

    Networking, getting out face to face with our potential senior clients and put on educational workshops!

    Go to your churches, ask to hold an educational workshop for their senior homeowners and children of seniors who own homes. This is a great way to get exposure!

    Don’t forget senior recreational centers, great way to get educational workshops going, many of them will help promote the workshop, put an ad in the local newspaper ETC.

    Most counties have a department on aging, they would love to work with you on putting on an educational workshop on the HECM product in their community.

    Small community banks and credit unions, another way to get educational workshops going in their branches, it gives them great exposure. Not only a way for them to increase their customer base but for you to increase your business as well!

    There are many ways we can get exposure and achieve success, besides the call center approach!

    John A. Smaldone

  • John you are spot on! As they say “a picnic is easier than a pilgrimage” and the successful originators we close loans for work smart AND hard.
    There’s something to be said for getting out of the office and going out to tell the story face to face.

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