The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the world has had a demonstrable effect on multiple facets of life, with financial markets reacting strongly while the federal government prepares a more robust response to support communities and businesses that have been affected by the virus’ spread.
While at first glance the reverse mortgage industry may not seem like something that should carry an abundance of concern related to the spread of the virus, many of the basic and fundamental realities of doing business in the sector could demonstrate that a degree of caution should be observed by those that operate within it.
To gauge what the possible impacts are on the operations of reverse mortgage lenders, RMD reached out to some of them to see what forms their responses to the current concerns are taking.
Best practices during the affected period
Bloomfield, N.J.-based Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF) is taking a cautious approach and posture given the current concerns related to the spread of the virus, impacting some of the business interactions that employees would sometimes have to partake in. This is according to Jean Noble, chief marketing officer at RMF.
“The health and safety of our employees and customers are of utmost importance,” Noble tells RMD. “As a result, RMF has taken precautionary measures and issued company-wide best practices. These include avoiding in-person seminars, events, and focus groups.”
In light of the heightened concern related to the virus, there may be a potential opportunity for some seniors to have recently-appearing financial concerns alleviated by making use of a reverse mortgage product. Because of that, RMF wishes for employees to conduct business as usual while still making sure that an appropriate level of caution is observed, Noble says.
“The coronavirus has created a lot of instability and uncertainty and a reverse mortgage may be an appropriate solution for many consumers,” Noble tells RMD. “We encourage our sales teams to continue to operate business-as-usual but to use their best judgement when scheduling face-to-face meetings only when both parties are healthy.”
Making other options available
Additionally, for those customers who still wish to adequately explore the options available to them through a reverse mortgage, RMF is making alternative options available to seniors so that meetings can still take place in different ways.
“To accommodate customers who may not want to meet face-to-face, but would still like to explore their options, our sales teams are scheduling phone conferences,” she says.
Be that as it may, the company encourages vigilance when it comes to business practices in light of the concerns raised by the spread of the virus.
“As always, the health and safety of our employees and customers remain our primary concern, and that includes adopting prudent practices designed to educate individuals and to avoid exposure or the spreading of this virus,” Noble says.
Keeping plans in place
Mahwah, N.J.-based Longbridge Financial continues to operate at full strength for the moment, but the company is prepared to make any operational changes that may be required should the concern present itself, but some employees have changed their routines out of an abundance of preventive caution. This is according to Longbridge CEO Chris Mayer.
“Longbridge has long had plans in place to address the closure of our offices due to weather, health issues, or other emergencies,” Mayer tells RMD. “We continue to operate at 100% capacity, providing the exceptional service that our partners and clients have come to expect. Select employees are now working from home if their workplaces are located in areas with heightened risk and we are constantly monitoring what is happening locally and around the country.”