After discussing what he has observed as some of the most effective forms of reverse mortgage product messaging, Jarred Talmadge — western sales manager at Simple Reverse Lending, the reverse mortgage division of Addison, Tex.-based Click n’ Close, Inc. — went on to discuss the important lessons learned from the pandemic and how his time as an originator became pivotal in moving toward the perennially important topic of reverse mortgage product education.
This is according to a conversation featured on the newest episode of The RMD Podcast, which is available now. As a relatively recent entrant into the reverse mortgage space, Talmadge also discussed how the pandemic may have become an important occurrence to bolster the industry’s nimbleness.
How originator experience proved essential
When asked about how the experience of originating has proven important to informing his educational efforts in the industry, Talmadge described those experiences as “key” because of the groundwork they helped provide.
“I started as an originator in the reverse field in 2019,” he says. “And then of course, six months later, COVID happened. And all of a sudden, we were taken away from that position of where we could actually sit down face-to-face and have a conversation with people. But the ability for me to sit down and have a conversation face-to-face with people was priceless, because I can actually get to know what it is they were missing.”
The loss of that ability to determine peoples’ needs directly had to evolve with the realities of the pandemic, but such prospects were not entirely diminished.
“When you come into this industry, you know nothing,” he says. “And you have to learn it from day one and [take time to understand] how it works since it can sound too good to be true. […] As an originator, I started with that simple question: where’s the catch? I would explain what happens and what doesn’t happen.”
That ability to distill information is a necessity for an originator, which Talmadge believes is an essential prerequisite for entering the reverse mortgage business, he says.
“For anybody who’s trying to be in this business, they have to have originated at some point, because that’s the key to where everything starts,” he said. “If you can’t sit down with a client, explain everything to the point where the client understands, that’s where the entire conversation changes for not only the loan officer but for the client. And when that happens, that’s where the magic occurs.”
Industry adjustments to COVID-19
As an industry entrant on the heels of the pandemic, Talmadge has seen firsthand how the industry was forced to react and respond to the new realities that situation presented and how evolution became necessary in a short period of time.
“I really think that with COVID, we were forced into a position where we had to educate the clients, because we couldn’t sit down, face-to-face with them,” he said. “That changed everything because it made us have to back up and [realize that] we couldn’t rely on sitting in front of the kitchen table. I honestly think it comes down to answering the clients’ questions to the point, almost, where it feels exhaustive.”
Answering questions and concerns exhaustively helps to increase the likelihood of landing a new borrower, Talmadge says, since it’s often a battle of attrition against any reservations they may have. That means that even in spite of the investments in education the industry has and is still making, even more is needed to emulate that exhaustive approach. There also needs to be an understanding among industry professionals that there is plenty of new business to go around, he says.
“As an industry, we need to educate our clients more, because we get away from this thought process that if I take a loan, I’m taking it away from somebody else,” he says. “We need to educate the clients to say this is beneficial for [them], it’s beneficial for [their] family. I’m a loan officer. I’m doing this obviously for money, it benefits us too. But in the long run, it has to be about the clients. And COVID really got me to explain to people how it works in a way that I don’t know if it was ever expressed before.”
Look for more from the discussion with Jarred Talmadge soon, or listen to the full conversation on the RMD Podcast today.