Live Well Financial is expanding its business with the evolution of an in-house technology platform that caters to a forward-reverse approach, and targets its distributed retail channel.
While the company has been originating forward and reverse mortgages for some time, it is now ramping up its efforts toward distributed retail sales with originators who will have the
opportunity to originate both traditional and reverse loans within the same technology platform. Today the company counts roughly 30-35 percent of its volume on the forward side and is making a push to further streamline operations for originators to do both types of loans. Part of that effort involves the evolution of Live Well’s origination platform to allow for both types of originations.
“This move is going to increase our level of activity significantly, allow us to diversify in the business channels that we’re in, allow us to create more efficiencies with the product and our secondary market execution on those products, and allow us to continue to be a price leader for our distributed channel,” says Bruce Barnes, Executive Vice President of Live Well Financial, based in San Diego.
The larger transition to a dual-product approach will also help Live Well in further driving recruitment on both the forward and reverse sides of the mortgage business, as Live Well aims to proactively seek out “good originators and wholesale brokers to join us,” Barnes says.
The impetus for this change arose from the larger trends that Live Well has been observing in the mortgage business, particularly since the October 2017 principal limit factor (PLF) changes, and Barnes describes a mindset to push Live Well in the direction of where the company anticipates the business will be in the future.
“Just looking at the direction of where the industry is going to be over the next couple of years, it was important to move into a direction that supported where we believe the industry will be,” added Barnes.
Barnes also emphasized to RMD that Live Well has the opportunity to operate in a more unique capacity, since this change will further allow the company to differentiate itself among its competition.
“Very few actually have the ability to leverage both the reverse and traditional products under the same roof, using the same technology,” Barnes says. “That’s really the most important distinction: our technology platform that we’ve spent a considerable amount of money on building allows an originator to log into one system, and actually facilitate both a reverse proposal and a forward proposal all inside of, say, 30 seconds.”
As for specifics regarding how this change will have the opportunity to streamline Live Well’s operations, Barnes says that it comes down largely to the convenience of having all of the necessary information in one place, as granted through the new platform.
“It allows us to gather documents and link accounts seamlessly, verify information in real-time, use artificial intelligence to actually score and move the transaction forward in real-time, and allow us to produce real-time disclosures and approvals for customers irrespective of the product they may be applying for,” Barnes says.
Integral to the larger experience is the borrower portals, which Barnes says are differentiated by being developed in-house instead of relying on third parties.
“What’s unique about Live Well’s [technology] is that we’ve created our own portals, so we can customize it to our needs,” Barnes shared. “It interacts seamlessly with our sales system for both forward and reverse, it allows you to be in an interaction with a customer via a live chat, a text, or by call with the customer.”
Learning from traditional mortgages
The creation of the new portals mirrors what has long been done in the forward space, Barnes says.
“[The portals] create those efficiencies that really don’t exist today on the reverse side of the business, and what we’re seeing is more and more customers willing to transact with us without nearly as much involvement by us on the sales, or operations side of the business,” he says. “So, this will allow the customer to transact at their own pace, which is really important for us.”
Barnes also told RMD that its expansion into traditional mortgage lending helped the company respond to larger reverse industry changes, and that their move into the traditional side of the business has helped emphasize the need for a technology platform that can handle the needs of both traditional and reverse business seamlessly.
“It’s really been the software system and ease of use that we’ve provided to the sales team that allows us to do both without a lot of complication,” Barnes says. “I’m aware of most companies have multiple systems that they need to log into, if not two, three, four, or even five systems they need to log into to try to effectively price a loan. What we’ve done is tie all those systems together, built rules related to automation that allows us to move the transaction forward without human input, and streamlines the process.”