This week, Finance of America Companies (FOA) announced that its CEO, Patricia “Patti” Cook, will retire at the end of June as reported by RMD sister publication HousingWire. Cook’s retirement was previously announced by the company earlier this year, saying that Cook would remain in place until a successor was chosen.
The search for a new CEO remains in progress. Cook explained that one of the factors influencing her retirement is related to ongoing health concerns she wishes to take the time to focus on, which led her to inform the company’s Board of Directors of her decision.
“After careful consideration of the impact of ongoing medical treatment, I have decided that the best course of action is for me to devote my energy to staying healthy,” Cook said, according to a statement.
She will remain an executive consultant to the company through the end of the year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
FOA is the parent company of top 10 reverse mortgage lender Finance of America Reverse (FAR). RMD reached out to FAR for reaction to the news of Cook’s retirement, which was offered by FAR President Kristen Sieffert.
“Patti’s dedication over the years has been widely impactful across the Finance of America family,” said Sieffert in a statement to RMD. “In an industry where women’s leadership was ever the exception, not the rule, Patti rose through the ranks leading with her own values. Her example is one of strength and grace under pressure, and I cannot thank her enough for the inspiration she has been to me and to so many other women on our team.”
Sieffert also praised Cook’s collaborative attitude in working across the FOA organization.
“We are grateful for the partnership we’ve had with her over the years and wish all the best for her health and well-being in retirement,” Sieffert said.
Cook previously related enthusiasm about the business trajectory of FAR in the past, particularly as it relates to its development of proprietary reverse mortgage products beyond the offerings as sponsored by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
In an interview with RMD conducted shortly after FAR announced its hybrid forward/reverse mortgage product EquityAvail, she explained how product development acts as a key differentiating factor as a component of the broader FOA portfolio of companies.
“A critical differentiator of FOA is our ability to identify gaps in the marketplace and use our proprietary data to launch innovative new products that our customers need, and distribute those through our Portfolio Management business,” she told RMD in March, 2021. “The new product that we’re launching at FAR is just the latest example of our ability to meet our customers’ needs through constant innovation, which we believe provides us with a real competitive advantage.”
She also described how FAR’s more narrow focus on the retirement demographic helps to give the company a broad, diversified outlook that can cater to any customer’s life milestones.
“While home equity is more commonly considered in retirement planning as of late, many seniors still do not associate a mortgage lender with their search for a retirement solution,” Cook said in the same interview. “FAR creates that relevance and provides older homeowners with important optionality through our suite of financial tools.”
Cook began her time at FOA beginning in 2016, starting as a senior managing director before ultimately becoming CEO in October, 2020. Over the course of her tenure with the company, she has helped to oversee FAR’s expansion of proprietary reverse mortgage offerings, in addition to FOA’s initial public offering (IPO) which transformed it into a publicly-traded company.