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FirstBank Named Reverse Mortgage Partner for National Lender Network

As an existing member of the national Mortgage Collaborative, FirstBank Mortgage has taken on a new role as the organization’s preferred partner for reverse mortgages.

The collaborative, a member-based organization of more than 120 lenders, also includes a number of preferred partners that offer the consortium economies of scale and other benefits they may not be able to achieve independently.

Lenders can access, for example, warehouse lending, brand management, or customer relationship management services, with preferred pricing. All vendors also must go through the Collaborative’s vetting process.

“We try to lean on our membership to identify for us different places in the origination lifecycle where we don’t have representation,” Tom Gallucci, director of business development for The Mortgage Collaborative, based in San Diego, tells RMD. “We are really impressed with FirstBank’s values and the way they dispel a lot of the preconceived notions about reverse mortgage lending from around the time of the mortgage crash. The partnership seemed like a win-win.”

Through FirstBank, members can access preferred wholesale pricing, as well as educational resources about reverse mortgages, if they would like to gain more information — or if they aren’t yet specialized in reverse mortgage lending.

“Just because we are a member and [an interested lender] is a member does not mean they have to use our services, but it becomes a little bit of an easier or friendlier environment,” says Ed O’Connor, marketing manager for FirstBank’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage division. “The Collaborative helps facilitate the conversation and introduction. It’s not the product for everyone, but a lot of companies have established clients who have for years banked with them, and who want a reverse mortgage but can’t get one through that bank.”

The decision to include a reverse mortgage/HECM partner among the organization’s offerings was a conscious one, given the rising interest in reverse lending among forward mortgage companies, Gallucci says.

“In 2018, where the overriding scene is limited margins and lenders seeking various ways to create revenue streams with originations being down this year, we thought: What better time to add a partner in the HECM space to give our members an opportunity in a growing segment?” he says. “It’s a great win for us to have a trusted resource and partner in the space and to be able to refer any member that has questions within the network.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker