Reverse mortgage technology platform ReverseVision today announced the promotion of Joe Langner to the joint position of president and chief executive officer (CEO), elevating the executive who has served as the company’s president since early last year. His new duties in this expanded role are designed to lead ReverseVision in its mission to introduce reverse mortgage product concepts to a wider audience of American seniors.
John Button, ReverseVision’s former president and CEO, ceded the role of president to Langner last year but had stayed on as CEO until the end of 2020. He will remain on as a member of the ReverseVision board, and will continue to advise the corporate board while also representing ReverseVision in industry organizations and at industry events.
Langner sat down with RMD to discuss the responsibilities of his new position, as well as what priorities he plans to lead the company in tackling over the course of 2021.
Looking ahead to 2021
Coming onboard at ReverseVision the same month that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, the reverse mortgage industry saw a period of sharp volatility followed by a general rise in both product interest and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement volume in the following months. Coming into ReverseVision amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic would be tumultuous for anybody, but Langner describes that at least for his company, 2020 provided ReverseVision with good performance.
“I feel fortunate having come in under John [Button] to learn about the business, while at the same time repositioning the company for higher levels of growth and investment, both in people and in our technology,” Langner tells RMD in an interview. “I had the opportunity to really focus on learning our business and work on expanding it. We were fortunate that we had a strong year, and we’ve used those revenues to reinvest in our business.”
That reinvestment came in the form of people, with an expansion of the company’s development and sales teams, while also giving a very unique perspective on what the company’s customers care about most particularly in a 2020 environment, Langner says.
“[That has] all prepared me well for getting us in 2021 to that same level of growth,” he says.
While the new responsibilities that come with being a CEO will not change Langner’s day-to-day operations too much, what has changed is the ability to be more involved in the decision and implementation of initiatives and business practices, he says.
“What it really does is it gives me more decision-making authority, and more responsibility to deliver value to our shareholders,” he says of the CEO role. “[As well as] control over the strategy of where we’re going as a business. The ultimate goal is to make it easier for our customers — and their customers — to do business. As CEO, my hope is to leverage the years of experience I’ve had with companies like Ellie Mae and Blue Sage, [and to] leverage those relationships. That experience [will] help expand the addressable market for the reverse mortgage.”
The tech trend, focusing on customers
One of the potential reverse mortgage trends that the industry appears to be focused on in the early days of the new year revolves around the greater implementation of technology into the reverse mortgage process. ReverseVision has been seeing interest from its customers in leveraging technology to streamline and simplify a greater number of reverse mortgage processes, he says. While prior ReverseVision product offerings were standalone solutions with a loan origination or point of sale platform, automating processes has become a major focus of the base of customers.
“In our industry, there’s a tremendous amount of movement of data from third-party settlement services, or the investors, lenders or brokers,” Langner explains. “So, the more that we can open up platforms that can communicate with each other, the more efficient [things become], and it provides a better customer experience. Across the board in the mortgage industry, you see a tremendous transition to the paperless mortgage, leveraging e-notarization, e-signatures, websites for applying or submitting documentation, and so forth. All of those are things we think we could support through integrations of our technology, within the platforms that support some of those capabilities.”
The key is implementing more modern technology, like ReverseVision’s APIs, to move data between systems in real-time, he says.
Being able to cut your reverse processes by being able to automate processes, and having all of your data in a single view for your customers [provides] benefits to the lenders, the investors and the customers all at once,“ he says. “And so, they’re all very much interested in leveraging these capabilities.”
All in all, Langner’s ascension to the role of president and CEO accompanies a more customer-centric posture for the company in the new year, he says.
“I think the thing we have is a customer-focused philosophy, where we really partner with our customers, to be seen as less of a vendor and more of a business partner,” he says. “To strategize on how we can simplify processes and increase their revenue. Our pricing model is similar to most of the other loan origination platforms where if our customers are successful, it helps both us and them financially. So, we really are shifting to much more of a customer-centric approach, from sales and marketing and how we’re funding our resources.”
New potential offerings
In terms of product offerings, ReverseVision will aim to build out its partnerships with third party software companies to leverage those APIs to streamline loan processes. An expansion of some existing offerings is also on the horizon for 2021.
“I think after that, you’re going to see the expansion of our front-end tool,” he says. “APIs are a way of moving data and images between systems, but they’re not the software that the end-user looks at. It’s not that front end. So in addition to the APIs, we’re also building out a point of sale product to support private loan and HECM loan products, and to be able to be a front-end to that API.”
This could be helpful particularly for companies who may not have the technical skills or resources to build a platform for communication with an API, Langner says. A web-based front-end can be framed by a customer on a website, in an application or a standalone product.
“The reverse mortgage is a terrific product to consider when you’re thinking about alternative ways to fund your retirement,” Langner says. “And then on top of that, you have great rates, the appraised values of homes are continually increasing, and the loan limits with HECMs have risen. So, what you have is more opportunity in a market that has a great product, but [the market] is underserved. So, I’m excited about ReverseVision because I’m excited about the reverse market, and what it brings to the consumer as well the lenders who are our customers.”