Retirement Funding Solutions (RFS) – a subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha Insurance-owned Synergy One Lending – will be rebranding under a new company name as Mutual of Omaha Mortgage. This rebranding effort reflects its association with its parent company and an effort on Mutual of Omaha’s part to align its reverse mortgage business more closely under a unified brand identity.
This new rebranding initiative is closing the book on the former RFS name due to the recognition that Mutual of Omaha has with consumers, according to RFS President Alex Pistone.
“We are taking steps to align the reverse mortgage business directly under the insurance company,” Pistone said in an email to RMD. “As a result, the RFS brand will be retired as we move to the Mutual of Omaha Mortgage brand.”
The move will help the company to build trust with customers, and the name recognition of Mutual of Omaha will be very beneficial in helping educate prospective borrowers about the specifics of reverse mortgage products, Pistone said.
“It is important to build trust with our customers so that we can provide education about the reverse mortgage and break through any misconceptions,” Pistone said. “Mutual of Omaha is a 110-year old company with a respected and trusted brand. We believe the Mutual of Omaha brand will help open more doors for our originators, both with customers as well as referral partners. We have already started to see this happen.”
The high concentration of senior customers that work with Mutual of Omaha brings an immense opportunity to expand the reverse mortgage business, Pistone adds.
“Mutual of Omaha has millions of existing customers, and 70% of them are seniors,” he said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to bring home equity solutions to the existing Mutual of Omaha customers, and help fulfill our shared mission, which is to help our customers protect what they care about and achieve their financial goals.”
This past summer, it was announced that Mutual of Omaha Bank will be acquired by Pasadena, Calif.-based CIT Bank in a deal valued at $1 billion, but that merger will not include mortgage arm Synergy One Lending which includes the former RFS. As part of the pending acquisition, the ownership of Synergy One Lending will shift to Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., according to a company announcement.
RFS was first established in 2015 as a subsidiary of Synergy One Lending by Torrey Larsen, who previously served as head of Security One’s retail lending division, and served as company president prior to Security One being acquired by Walter Investment Management Corp. in 2013. Mutual of Omaha first announced its purchase of Synergy One in May of 2018, and the deal was finalized that July.
As of October 2019, Synergy One Lending is the fifth-largest reverse mortgage lender by volume, according to data from Reverse Market Insight (RMI). The company saw an improvement in its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements for October, posting a 53.9% gain over September figures. The company has also increased its total market share in the HECM space by 1.2% in that same period of time, rising to 6.2% in 2019.