Quicken Halts One Reverse Mortgage Operations, Shifts Focus to Rocket Mortgage

Top-10 reverse mortgage lender One Reverse Mortgage is “pausing” its operations, under the direction of its parent company Quicken Loans. The San Diego-based One Reverse reportedly informed its employees Monday that their jobs will be transitioned to roles within Quicken Loans in order to refocus their operations on conventional lending.

One Reverse will complete its pipeline of reverse mortgage loans in process, but is not expected to originate any new reverse mortgage loans, sources told RMD.

The halting of reverse mortgage operations comes from a desire by Quicken to refocus its efforts on the Rocket Mortgage brand, according to a Quicken Loans company spokesperson.

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“As the nation’s largest lender we are constantly evaluating our portfolio to make sure we are delivering the most sought after financial solutions to our clients at all times,” Quicken Loans said in a statement provided to RMD. “As the Rocket Mortgage brand continues to grow, and we see demand shifting from the reverse mortgage market, we have made the decision to pause reverse mortgage originations and transition all current One Reverse Mortgage (ORM) team members to positions with Rocket Mortgage.”

ORM employees will be used to reinforce the growing needs of Rocket Mortgage, the company said.

“This move will allow us to leverage the skill and expertise of our ORM team members to quickly scale and meet the unprecedented demand Rocket Mortgage is experiencing as it grows its position as America’s largest mortgage lender,” the spokesperson said.

Calls to the 800 number associated with One Reverse Mortgage are currently being redirected to Quicken Loans’ mortgage refinance call center, where operators are informing those with reverse mortgage inquiries that reverse mortgages are no longer being offered.

The changes at One Reverse Mortgage come on the heels of another top-10 reverse mortgage lender ceasing operations. Last May, Live Well Financial abruptly halted the origination of new loans before permanently closing its doors shortly thereafter, stemming from alleged financial improprieties from executives that has led to a lawsuit against that company’s former CEO scheduled to begin in October.

In late 2019, One Reverse emerged as the number 2 reverse mortgage lender for the calendar year, a rise from its 2018 ranking in which it sat at 4th place on that year’s top 10.

Starting business as a division of the One Mortgage Network in 2001, One Reverse Mortgage became a part of Quicken Loans in early 2008 when that company purchased One Mortgage Network.

In 2011, One Reverse began employing actor Henry Winkler (Happy Days, Barry) as a spokesperson for its own television ads. Winkler departed the role in 2017, with the company continuing its TV presence shortly thereafter and noted for taking a different approach in its advertising compared with other lenders. One Reverse employed actress Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie) to star in one commercial, notable for being the first company to use a female spokesperson in a major reverse mortgage advertisement.

In 2018, One Reverse introduced its own proprietary reverse mortgage loan product, the Home Equity Loan Optimizer (HELO), on the heels of other proprietary reverse mortgages from other lenders.

Written by Chris Clow and Elizabeth Ecker

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  • This is yet another sign that the industry is in stagnation and not as productive as many claim. If the majority of originators at ORM are swallowed up into Rocket Mortgagee, those experienced and productive originators and their production will be lost to the industry.

    The loss in reverse mortgage endorsement production should not be felt until the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Not long ago John Lunde forcefully speculated that HECM closings for fiscal 2018 were probably worse than for fiscal 2019. If that is true, fiscal 2020 could be the third year for HECM stagnation. That would also mean 2018 was the fiscal year for loss and that the period of secular stagnation in the last decade was five years rather than six. If this period of stagnation is also five years, then as of March 31, 2020 the industry will be half way through this new period of secular stagnation.

    What is very interesting about this current period of stagnation is that the actual and expected swings in closings will most likely not be as great as during fiscal 2013 through 2017 (inclusive).

    While that was John’s take on things, there is no way to fully analyze the interesting picture John portrays. Rather than speculation, it seems more appropriate to rely on credible data from sources such as HUD with its HECM endorsement data, even though John’s approach is more relevant. It is too bad HUD did not start out three decades ago by supplying the industry with HECM closing data.

    The point is if RMI’s sorting of data is helpful to originators who originate outside of their immediate surroundings (and many believe it is), we will at some point need the same, if not better data, to keep the proprietary reverse mortgage segment, expanding.

    Trying to market without relevant data can be successful on a limited scale but not on a scale of a company like AAG. Even marketing on a much smaller scale can avoid unnecessary costs if the marketer has and knows how to use relevant data.

  • It is truly interesting as more of the larger retail and broker lenders are still pulling out of the Reverse space. While this opens the door for more business for private mortgage lenders, it does not help to handle the expected increase in business as the Baby Boomers continue to age. I have already seen a 50% + increase in lead generation this year and it seems like it is not going to stop. We continue to need additional DEDICATED professionals to join the Reverse space. Folks who truly focus and understand the business inside out. All these folks need people to talk to, listen and assist with their financial situations. It’s a slow moving game, but beneficial to both borrower and loan originator in the end.

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