Madison-based Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation announced on Monday that it is ramping up investments into its reverse mortgage division and reorganizing its leadership structure. This will include “decentralizing” its reverse mortgage operations and appointing a new advisory council to bring company leaders into the fold for reverse mortgage decisions.
On the heels of the announcement from Fairway, Harlan Accola, the company’s former national reverse mortgage director, announced on social media that he would be moving to Fort Mill, S.C.-based Movement Mortgage. This marks another move in a string of similar departures, which have been reported on by HousingWire in recent months.
Fairway declined to comment when asked about potential impacts the changes would have on its reverse mortgage employees. RMD sent a request for comment to Accola but had not received a response prior to publishing. Movement Mortgage did not return a request for comment.
Fairway said that a key area of focus for the changes to its reverse mortgage division is to move away from a “strongly centralized” operating model.
“To drive this initiative, Fairway is launching a new Reverse Advisory Council, comprised of top leadership from Sales, Operations, and Support, to lead on Reverse Mortgage production,” the company said.
Branches will also see “increased regionalized support service” with an emphasis on faster response times, the company said.
“We’re ready to serve a new phase of reverse assisting both loan officers and our senior homeowners,” Mike Daryanani, Fairway’s national sales support director, said. “The changes we’re implementing are all about making the experience for reverse borrowers faster and easier.”
Fairway CEO Steve Jacobson said the work already done by the reverse mortgage division will serve as a kick-off point for the changes.
“We’ve built an amazing reverse platform at Fairway with some excellent leaders, and it is time to take that platform to the next level with more speed and improved processes and communication,” Jacobson said. “That’s what our sales team and our customers deserve, so we’re making it happen. Fairway gives these opportunities for growing platforms – it’s part of what makes Fairway who we are, and it’s time for our reverse mortgage platform to really expand so we can continue to help and serve families.”
In addition to Accola, a number of other Fairway team members have recently transitioned away from the company. Last week, top-producing forward loan officer Dave Medina and his Temecula-based team made the move from Fairway to Movement.
“In the 20 years that I’ve been doing this business, I’ve only moved companies once, and that was when the company sold the mortgage division to another,” Medina told HousingWire. “Outside of just doing mortgages, I want to be part of something bigger and Movement had some opportunities [to involve me] with national coaching.”
Two Fairway executives also headed to Movement last summer. Sarah Middleton, a 34-year mortgage industry veteran, took a new position as Movement’s chief growth officer, while Kevin McGovern was hired to create a coaching platform for the lender.
One of the ways that Fairway plans to increase its reverse mortgage business is through the HECM for Purchase (H4P) program, which company leaders describe as having unrealized market potential.
According to retail HECM endorsement data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Fairway was the seventh largest reverse mortgage lender in the country in 2022, with 2,747 endorsements during the 2022 calendar year.
Between 2021 and 2022, Fairway grew its reverse mortgage market share from 3.2% to 4.7% to overtake Austin-based Open Mortgage.