Don Currie, president and co-founder of HighTechLending in Irvine, died suddenly on March 2 at 60 years old. Currie is survived by his wife and daughter.
In a mortgage career that spanned 40 years, Currie’s legacy is tied to HighTechLending, a multi-channel mortgage lender he founded with Erika Macias in 2007 after spending seven years as a senior vice president at Impac Wholesale Mortgage.
HighTech began offering reverse mortgage loans in 2008. By 2013, the company had broken into the top 10 reverse mortgage lender rankings nationally, and Currie became an active and vocal member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).
“I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Don Currie,” NRMLA President Steve Irwin said. “Don was such a vibrant and active member of the NRMLA community and he will be missed. My thoughts are with Don’s family and colleagues at this time.”
Wendy Peel, COO of Art Vs. Math and Mortgage Advisor Tools, worked with Currie during her time at ReverseVision and remembers him fondly.
“He was generous and kind in supporting new ideas and innovation to help the reverse mortgage community grow,” Peel said. “He was the first lender to sponsor and support all three user conferences, which was a new concept at the time in the reverse mortgage space. Overall, just a really available person to provide constructive feedback and support. He really was a great partner.”
Jonathan Scarpati, Finance of America Reverse (FAR) SVP of wholesale lending, also shared thoughts on Currie.
“Don’s passion for reverse mortgages helped to improve the lives of many Americans,” Scarpati said. “He has always been regarded as one of the top lenders in our industry, and more importantly, he was a great human being. He will certainly be missed, and we wish all the best to HighTechLending and the Currie family.”
“Don was one of the best presenters and salesmen I’ve come across in my career,” said Adrian Prieto of Longbridge Financial. “He was charismatic and genuine, with a fun sense of humor. He was also a successful and shrewd businessman. I learned quite a bit from Don during my time at HTL: the art of the pitch, how to market to brokers and being gracious regardless of the outcome. He was always kind to my family and he meant it. Whenever I was about to take a trip somewhere, he would say, ‘Godspeed, Adrian!’ Well, now it’s my turn, Don. Godspeed wherever you are. You’ll be missed.”
Several industry professionals shared memories of Currie on a LinkedIn post announcing his death.
Currie said in the past that relying on people who deeply knew the reverse mortgage product helped the company to hit the ground running during a tumultuous time for the mortgage business.
“We started doing reverse mortgages in 2008, and during that time, that was kind of the crash of the old mortgage industry,” Currie said in 2019. “We were really fortunate in aggregating a lot of the really top reverse mortgage people back then, and they’ve stayed with us for the last 10-11 years.”
He also noted how a popular Eagles song from 1976 was applicable to the company’s efforts in the reverse mortgage space.
“We always kind of joke that it’s like ‘Hotel California’ — everybody checks in, but nobody checks out,” Currie said. “And I think that’s really what has helped us with consistency. It’s also a very small bowl that the reverse mortgage lives in, and we’ve been really fortunate that our anchor tenants, as we like to call them, stuck around through thick and thin. When it’s a family environment, like what we have, when times get tough, we all hunker down.”
When announcing Currie’s death, the company said plans are being formulated for its future, there is nothing to announce yet.
“As we begin the process of implementing our succession planning, please allow our HTL family the time to grieve and begin that process in peace,” the company said in a statement.