Finance of America Reverse (FAR) announced Thursday that it is entering into a new, exclusive partnership with widespread mortgage marketing platform Total Expert to provide third-party originators access to a dedicated platform aimed at improving originators’ reverse mortgage marketing expertise. The company is also launching Xcelerate, a new online portal of educational resources and sales tools for wholesale partners.
While primarily geared towards retail sales teams prior to this partnership, the engagement between FAR and Total Expert is built for a wholesale model while providing FAR’s third-party partners with the unified offering that includes several tools to facilitate education and distribution of compliant marketing relating to FAR loan products.
Total Expert, Xcelerate features
Total Expert features include CRM dashboards; marketing automation and lead nurturing; email and social media integration; personalized sales collateral; compliant educational materials for consumers and referral partners; loan origination system integration; and pipeline view of loan activity.
For Xcelerate, FAR is aiming to conduct pilot tests which, upon their successful completion, will make the new platform available to all approved FAR partners on March 30.
In addition to Total Expert, Xcelerate is expected to feature several of its own unique attributes including FAR Reverse Illustrator (a calculator that visually depicts the loan and estimated property value over time to demonstrate the benefit of a reverse mortgage); Finance of America University (online courses to explain reverse mortgage concepts); educational videos; guidelines and manuals; and product information and best practices bulletins.
“With a visual loan model, training content, and library of approved marketing material, product complexities and compliance concerns are no longer a barrier for customer engagement,” says Kristen Sieffert, president of FAR in the announcement of the roll-out. “We are proud to make this unique offering available and its roll-out further cements our ability to push boundaries and remain at the forefront of the industry, particularly at a time when the ability to responsibly tap home equity is at top of mind for many consumers. We are excited to see more mortgage professionals use the Xcelerate portal and become familiar with FAR’s products.”
New possibilities through new features
FAR has high expectations for what this partnership and its associated tools could mean for proprietary HomeSafe loan volume going forward, according to Ashley Smith, director of marketing.
“We expect that the Total Expert partnership coupled with the educational components of Xcelerate will provide a significant lift for HomeSafe as consumers look to solve for their retirement needs,” Smith tells RMD. “Through the material we offer in Total Expert, originators are better equipped to convey the benefits of the product and have a platform to lighten the workload.”
In terms of Xcelerate, it is likely best suited to expand the abilities for originators to broaden their contacts through means like social media and email, Smith says. However, it can also bolster more traditional outreach methods including print media.
“Xcelerate is here to keep originators connected to their contacts by staying in touch regularly, and we see it expanding email and social media outreach as partners use the platform to keep in touch with their network,” Smith says. “Xcelerate also makes it easier to have beautiful print collateral on hand in order to educate brokers and the public about our loans with compliant material.”
Additionally, because there can often be a heavy investment of time and effort required on the part of partners to understand all the market factors in addition to the specifics of the HomeSafe product, these new efforts provide an opportunity to streamline that process, Smith says.
“FAR wants to reduce this friction and help partners get to the speed they want to be at,” she says. “No other lender is offering anything like this. FAR has made an entire ecosystem available to our partners for delivering expertly crafted, compliant materials and multiplying those conversations through automation.”
HECM effects, current timing
While this partnership with Total Expert and the creation of Xcelerate is primarily geared towards application to HomeSafe originations, FAR does see the possibility that these efforts will have a positive effect on its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) business, Smith says.
“Empowering originators to speak fluently on HomeSafe has always been a focus for the project, and we expect there will naturally be a positive impact on our HECM business as well,” she says.
The timing of the announcement and the planned roll-out also comes at a unique time, while the coronavirus pandemic is gripping the nation. If anything, that makes it important for the company’s partners to have an expanded toolbox during trying times, Smith says.
“FAR is committed to providing our partners with the tools to succeed, and this is as true during the current crisis as it’s ever been,” she says. “Our view of this platform is long term, and we worked to get this to our partners now so that they are equipped during a difficult season and are prepared to excel in the season to follow.”
Of course, the timing for this roll-out is obviously coincidental, but there certainly could be an opportunity to further make the case for potential borrowers now looking for additional options in solidifying their financial health, Smith says.
“Many consumers will undoubtedly need to reassess their retirement preparedness and will look for additional ways to increase financial stability after we emerge from the current crisis,” she says. “A key function of a reverse mortgage is to provide that stability. Utilizing home equity will help many access the funds they need to get to work on retirement.”