In an era of reverse mortgage uncertainty, a new startup plans to stand out from the crowd by providing an online-heavy approach to originations.
The Silverthorne, Colo.-based MortgageRewind.com formally launched on Monday after about a year of development, with a platform designed to pair interested seniors with licensed loan officers from the first point of contact online or by phone. The idea, according to founder and president Jered Klima, is to make sure that prospective borrowers have solid, reliable information about Home Equity Conversion Mortgages and other loans from the beginning of the process.
“Each person they’re talking to has a wide breadth of knowledge of reverse mortgages and mortgages in general, and they’re responsible and ethical, to carry that customer through the loan process,” Klima told RMD.
The company currently employs 10 loan officers and operates as a brokerage, though Klima said he plans to eventually expand into lending. MortgageRewind’s services are additionally available only in its home state of Colorado, with a nationwide rollout plotted by the end of the year. In addition to HECMs, MortgageRewind will market both forward and reverse refinance loans, HECM for Purchase products, and traditional forward home equity lines of credit.
While the company touts its proprietary online portal, which includes a paperless application, MortgageRewind also offers in-person consultations for borrowers who prefer the “kitchen table” approach.
“We are 100% online, but at the same time, we’re capable of putting boots on the ground and meeting with people face to face,” Klima said.
Klima also owns online advertising firm eClickonomy and was a founding partner of SnapCap, a platform that matches borrowers with lenders that offer unsecured loans for small businesses. The latter company sold its non-lending assets to mortgage referral giant LendingTree, Inc. (Nasdaq: TREE) in 2017 for $21 million.
With reverse mortgages, Klima sees a largely untapped opportunity, pointing to data that shows seniors’ wealth increasingly tied up in their homes — while they continue to struggle with underfunded retirement plans and pensions.
“What I found advantageous and exciting was really the idea that people aren’t utilizing them the way they should,” he said. “…Instead of it being a last resort, it should be really top of mind, because there’s a lot of different ways for you to finance your retirement and a reverse mortgage is a great tool.”
When considering an entrance into the reverse mortgage business and learning more about the products, Klima also examined the loans in terms of his own future financial situation.
“When I looked at it, for me, it was a no-brainer, because I never would want to liquidate my stocks or my investments, because those are generally going to appreciate at a far greater rate than my home value,” he said.
Written by Alex Spanko