Living in New York for most of her life, Lorraine Geraci first found reverse mortgages by working at a utility company. Little did she know that her initial discovery would set her on a career path that involved a product designed to assist seniors tap the equity they’ve built up in their homes.
Having recently made a career transition into professional business coaching, Geraci sat down with RMD to discuss her pathway into the business and how the industry’s product education posture has developed over the past 20 years. The full discussion is featured in the newest episode of The RMD Podcast, which is available now.
Finding reverse mortgages
Geraci worked as the head of a customer service training division at a major utility company in the early 2000s before a friend of hers — a mortgage professional — recommended that she look into the reverse mortgage industry as a potential career path.
“Here we are in 2003. At that time, I had no idea what a reverse mortgage was,” she said. “And I looked into it and did some research. Once I did, I was pretty intrigued and I made a big leap out of a very consistent job that I had for such a long time, and I began working for Bank of New York Mortgage in 2004 as a loan officer.”
That was the element that started what would become a 20-plus year career for her, and it quickly evolved from there, she explained. That year, Geraci wrote her first reverse mortgage loan and described the impact it had, and still has, on her to this day.
“The woman that I did it for I had gotten contacted by her daughter who was looking into helping her mom,” she said. “[She] was a widow, [and wanted to] be able to stay at her property more comfortably. I am still friends with that lady today and her mom is in her 90s, and literally just moved in with her.”
That experience was an eye-opening one for Geraci, since it established an understanding of a reverse mortgage’s potential utility for borrowers, she explained.
“It was such a great start to be able to see how amazing this product has been for so many homeowners like her,” she said. “I had such a wonderful experience that it really took me into the rest of my sales career, at least until getting into the education division. And then what’s great about that is now, I can take the experience that I’ve had as an actual sales professional and help other people that are also passionate about the product and of course, about the clients and the referral partners.”
She became a top producer for the company, and worked through the bank’s evolution into EverBank and — eventually — into MetLife Bank.
Developing educational chops, making a transition
While at MetLife, Geraci described developing a desire to find her way back into the educational sphere.
“After that happened, thanks to some support from my senior team at the time, I wanted to get back into education,” she said. “So I started working in MetLife’s reverse mortgage sales training division, and onboarded over 600 new reverse mortgage consultants over less than a year-and-a-half, until MetLife closed its doors in 2012.”
After the closure of MetLife’s reverse division, Geraci met Sherry Apanay, who was running the sales division at Urban Financial of America. It ultimately led to her taking a position there, through its evolution into Finance of America Reverse (FAR), where she stayed for 11 years.
“Throughout the course of the last 11 years, I was fortunate enough to build the entire learning and professional development education program at [FAR],” she said.
Geraci has now moved into professional coaching full-time, and still wishes to contribute to the reverse mortgage industry, she said.
“It’s no secret that the mortgage industry has had its hills and valleys for many, many years,” she said. “And when the valleys hit, sometimes there are changes to the workforce. They’re inevitable, as we’ve seen with many lenders across forward and reverse mortgage. However, my passion is still there.”
Moving into coaching
The educational front in particular is an area she has identified as a potential opportunity, having worked at very high levels of the reverse mortgage business. Because of that, she wanted to combine her experience with the passion she has for education.
“What I’ve done is I’ve looked at that as an opportunity to take my almost 20 years of experience, and share that with anyone in the industry — not just a select few people, or [through] working for one particular company’s [educational resources]. Consulting was really the next logical step.”
A recent designation she gained over the past decade has also helped to crystallize for her where she can apply her skills, she explained.
“It’s bringing me forward, because I’m also a certified professional coach,” she said. “That was a designation I got back in 2014. Combining those skills with my industry experience, knowledge, and of course, passion, really seemed like that was the next move that needed to happen.”