The reverse mortgage division of Mutual of Omaha Mortgage has announced this week that it is changing the consumer-facing branding of its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase (H4P) loan option to more clearly illustrate the most common intended outcome of such a loan for a borrower.
Mutual of Omaha will now be referring to its H4P loan product as its “Lifestyle Home Loan,” something which will only apply to the company’s consumer-facing materials only, the company said.
“The rebranding is meant to align the product with the outcome it provides retirees when purchasing their next home in retirement,” the company said in an announcement of the rebranding initiative. “This rebranding does not change any aspects of the HECM program and will be used for marketing purposes only.”
The HECM program is administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and H4P loans are a subset of the broader HECM program. No lender has the authority to change the way the HECM program works, so Mutual of Omaha is instead aiming to communicate the loan type’s capabilities through its own branding initiative.
“This loan program is still widely unknown to retirees who are looking to right-size their housing needs,” said Chris Kargacos, EVP of national sales at Mutual of Omaha Mortgage. “Our goal is to help educate homeowners across the country about their options when purchasing a home, while helping maintain or improve their lifestyle in retirement or on a fixed income. We believe the Lifestyle Home Loan branding will help us achieve this goal.”
While H4P has its ardent defenders within the reverse mortgage industry, nationwide uptake for the product has stayed in the single digits in terms of overall market penetration for years. According to data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), the total share of H4P volume across the entire reverse mortgage industry made up only 4.2% of all endorsements in 2021.
However, that data also indicated that among H4P providers, Mutual of Omaha recorded over 12.5% of its volume as coming from H4P loans, notably beating out the industry average.
At the beginning of 2021, Mutual of Omaha launched a mobile application (or app) specifically designed to serve potential reverse mortgage borrowers seeking either a HECM or H4P transaction.
The app features tools for a potential borrower to begin getting a reverse mortgage loan, including an application that the client can start, a mechanism allowing documents to be captured and uploaded, notifications of “loan milestones” keeping borrowers and/or real estate agents apprised of transaction processes, and a chat feature allowing communication between the client and loan officer or agent.