The National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) announced on Tuesday a partnership with reverse mortgage lender Liberty Reverse Mortgage, which establishes a Certified Reverse Mortgage Specialist certification program (CREV). The program will feature classes by NAMB and Liberty.
The CREV courses are scheduled to begin on April 10 in Tampa, but the course will be offered in a hybrid setting.
The course will cover a number of subjects, including age, property and equity requirements for a reverse mortgage loan; how loan amounts are determined; different roles that product types play in how much equity a borrower can access; how a credit report could impact the loan; sales tips and best practices for working with borrowers in the reverse demographic; and overcoming objections and working through underwriting issues.
Following completion, a test is administered to attendees. Those who pass will receive a certification and marketing materials that can be promoted to prospective reverse mortgage clients.
Liberty will also be showcased at NAMB National 2023, which takes place September 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nev.
When asked how the partnership came about, NAMB President Ernest Jones, Jr. said reverse mortgages have increasing utility for a growing number of senior borrowers.
“We have an industry partners committee [who] will go out and research and talk with organizations or companies that provide different types of resources, such as education or other mortgage tools,” Jones said. “The primary reason we do that is so that we can get an opportunity to educate our mortgage brokers and our members.”
Jones said retirement issues are becoming a greater concern for senior clients, and as such, providing them with more information about reverse mortgages makes sense.
“For example, in the reverse mortgage course, there’s a lot of that going on now with the aging baby boomers community, and what we want to do is to make sure that the mortgage providers or the brokers are well-educated on how those products work and when to offer them. If they have questions, we want to ensure they can have resources to go to,” Jones said.
Seniors often face inaccurate reverse mortgage information, and NAMB wants to ensure that accurate informational materials are available, Jones said.
Acoording to Jones, while reverse mortgage companies have faced difficulty with connecting to senior borrowers, the additional refinements to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reverse mortgage program and recent regulations have helped improve perceptions.
“We welcome the oversight [of reverse mortgages] because it makes it better for the consumers, but it also makes it better for us as brokers,” he said. “Because now we know that there’s someone overlooking the program and the products, and we can make sure we provide education for our members and borrowers.”
Spreading the word
The certification program is lender-agnostic, but Liberty was ready and willing to assist with the creation of the certification and the course, Jones said.
“Liberty was willing to work with us to put together a class,” Jones said. “Now, we have access to a number of mortgage brokers and professionals, so [clients] can get that education regardless of whether they go through with a reverse mortgage or not. But when we talk to families and meet consumers, we will have accurate information to pass on to them. And if we can’t answer their questions, we can give them a source that they can go to.”
For Liberty, the new partnership and certification is a path to broaden the reach of the reverse mortgage industry, according to Robert Ross, VP of third-party originations at Liberty/PHH.
“Our team is excited to partner with NAMB by offering its members a robust and comprehensive reverse mortgage certification program,” Ross said in a statement. “Together, NAMB and Liberty will build mortgage professionals’ proficiency in reverse mortgages as well as the confidence to originate the program, ensuring borrowers across the nation are receiving the very best advice on how to responsibly access home equity to meet their individual retirement needs.”
Distribution as a priority
Distribution has long been a priority for Liberty.
“When I think of expanding distribution, it’s not just about doing more reverse mortgages,” Liberty President Mike Kent said at RMD’s 2020 HEQ event. “It’s about showing more seniors that there are options available to them to have a better retirement outcome. That’s really what it’s about. […] There are a lot of different choices you have to make when you have a limited amount of assets that have to last you over a duration of time. If we can impact those decisions. If we can expand the duration of that asset depletion, then I think we’ve done something significant in our industry.”
According to Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Liberty is the sixth largest reverse mortgage lender in the country, with 3,260 endorsements in the 12-month period ending in February 2023.