A trait generally ascribed to the reverse mortgage industry is that the business never stays still. Whether it’s borrower demographic evolution, lender and government product changes or how originators and brokers connect with their borrowers, there are a lot of changes to keep track of.
Just ask Lisa Moriello, the national retail reverse sales manager for loanDepot. Having been in the reverse mortgage industry since the 1990s, she has observed a lot of change during her career. In the latest episode of The RMD Podcast, Moriello discussed some of the changes she has observed throughout her career.
From slammed to opened doors
When Moriello entered the business, she found that financial planners weren’t exactly receptive to hearing about reverse mortgage products. However, robust conversations helped change attitudes — which is more true today than ever, she said.
“I did get a few doors slammed in my face; let’s just be honest with that,” Moriello said. “But I think once they got past the initial [reaction], even back then, normally they would call me because their clients were going to outlive their money.”
Having an established relationship with planners certainly helped, but delving into the reverse mortgage benefits also proved to be beneficial, she said.
“I already had a relationship with them [from] providing traditional mortgages for their clients,” Moriello said. “I was able to say, ‘Let me show you what a reverse mortgage will do. Let’s talk about the options.’ And so for me, I’ve always come at it from that end of the business, which, by the way, was not very popular in our industry in the early days. Hybrid loan officers were not the same [as they are today].”
The state of the reverse mortgage climate has been a topic of conversation since the refi boom dissipated last year. Volume is down across the board, but lenders and analysts are hopeful that once the “new normal” settles in, business will improve.
Moriello said business inquiries are increasing, and when things are down, a return to what has always worked is beneficial.
“I’m always going to focus back on what I can do to bring in more business and engage more leads,” she said. “I’m speaking at our annual meeting for our state’s financial planning board, and these are the ways that I look to build my business. I look to meet new financial planners and new real estate agents.”
Moriello recently hosted a continuing education class for real estate agents on the HECM for Purchase (H4P) product, and the response was enthusiastic, she said.
“Nobody snored, so that was really good,” she said. “I think that is a very good sign. So for me, it’s not a depressed market. It’s only a depressed market if I let it be.”
Thinking about the future
With high rates and other compounding factors, the pool of borrowers who qualify is smaller right now. But thinking about where the market will be can help in the months ahead, she said.
“There are some people that are not going to qualify right now based on where everything is, but they may a little bit later as the market changes,” she said. “I treat everything in that regard. I need to continue looking for new leads, continuing to make new relationships and to make sure I’m serving my clients. So, I’m just working a little harder than I was over the last two years.”
Listen to the full conversation with Lisa Moriello on episode 42 of The RMD Podcast, available now.