Baltimore, Md.-based automated borrower intelligence and retention system platform Sales Boomerang announced this month the launch of a new product, “Reverse Mortgage Alert.” The purpose, similar to other customer intelligence products offered by the company, is designed to inform a lender when a borrower in its system would be a “good candidate” for either a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) as administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or a proprietary reverse mortgage with higher lending limits.
The alert can trigger based on different parameters chosen by the lender, such as when a borrower is both age-eligible at 62, or maintains enough equity in his or her home to potentially qualify for a reverse mortgage loan. Describing the opportunity in terms familiar to the reverse mortgage industry and in considering record levels of home equity accumulated by seniors, company representatives see the industry as a largely untapped resource according to public statements and conversations with RMD.
The reverse mortgage opportunity
One reason the company decided to enter the reverse mortgage space is due to the perception of it as a largely untapped market, and an opportunity to educate lenders about the possibilities of such a loan. This is according to Mike Spotten, VP of product at Sales Boomerang.
“With untapped home equity at an all-time high, this latest expansion to our award-winning line of automated borrower intelligence and retention alerts is extremely timely,” Spotten said. “By activating Reverse Mortgage Alerts, Sales Boomerang users can build healthier loan pipelines while helping customers access loan options they may otherwise have learned about from a competitor — or perhaps not have learned about at all.”
Adding reverse to the suite of product alerts already offered by Sales Boomerang was a natural fit for the company because of favorable demographics and a desire to be as all-encompassing as possible in the mortgage space. This is according to Richard Grieser, VP of marketing. Some pre-existing alerts the company offers includes if an existing borrower at a lender inquires about options at another organization, which can allow the original lender to re-engage with a borrower for repeat business.
A rise in home equity generally over the past year has also fueled another alert product the company offers for mortgage insurance removal, if a borrower’s credit and equity position improves significantly enough. The growth in equity on that side of the business was one component of the decision to roll out the reverse mortgage-centric alert product. However, the number of reverse-related inquiries the company was fielding had also noticeably grown, which led to the development of the reverse mortgage alert, Grieser explains.
“For a long time. I had a lot of companies reach out to us and [ask if we do] anything for reverse mortgages or other types products, and the answer was no for the longest time,” Grieser tells RMD in an interview. “Now, we have this alert, which we’ve just rolled out because so many of our clients were asking for it. What that alert does is notify the lender the very moment any of their borrowers in their database could qualify for, or benefit from a reverse mortgage.”
A journey of understanding, current and future lenders served
As is common with people who have not had many prior direct interactions with the reverse mortgage industry, the staff at Sales Boomerang had to go on an educational journey regarding the intricacies of the reverse market.
“There was a ton of education we had to do, and the way we did that is with a bunch of interviews with our clients who offer reverse mortgages,” Grieser explains. “We just talked to them about what they would like to know, whether or not this kind of alert is something they’d be interested in. First of all, we were just having conversations talking to them about when and how they offer a reverse mortgage: the borrower has to be 62 and older, we chatted about why people decide that a reverse mortgage is important.”
Many of those conversations described a majority of borrowers as in need of additional cash flow to bolster retirement savings. Additional self-conducted research and information yielded from conversations with lenders led the company to develop various parameters by which the reverse mortgage alert can be triggered.
“You can set the age threshold to whatever you want, then we literally notify [the lender] at the moment someone hits an age where they qualify for a reverse mortgage,” Grieser says. “If I was setting an alert up, I probably would set it to 61, because then I would probably have a quick conversation a little bit earlier to prepare [the borrower] for the option. And then, you can set the home value, you can, of course, adjust the value for the range of home values [the lender is] looking for.”
An alert can also be set up based on the amount of equity a senior has built up in the home.
“The roadmap for where we can take this product in the future is pretty exciting,” Grieser says.
Future opportunities, the potential for reverse mortgage partnerships
When asked if such an alert can be issued to a lender without a dedicated reverse mortgage offering or division in order to fuel broker partnerships, Grieser said that was not on the table so far. It could be in the future, however.
“The lenders that we all have signed up so far have their own ability to offer the reverse mortgage right now,” Grieser explains. “[In the future], we might be able to tell our lenders that they could be offering a reverse mortgage to certain qualifying borrowers, and then show them how they could actually do that through a third party or someone else.”
When asked about what he and Sales Boomerang would most like to communicate to RMD’s reverse mortgage industry audience, Grieser explained that having good information about when to optimally offer a reverse mortgage is key.
“There’s a lot of people out there who need a reverse mortgage product,” he says. “You’re doing borrowers a disservice by avoiding a conversation with them when they need help. We know when someone needs a reverse mortgage. Talk to us, we’ll let you know when they do. It’s that simple. Lenders shouldn’t be playing guessing games, or reaching out to people who just don’t qualify. We’ll tell you the moment someone qualifies.”
See the dedicated webpage for the product at Sales Boomerang.