National Mortgage News journalist Amild Dymi recently wrote about the Senior Lending Network’s strategy of using television commercials to help grow their reverse mortgage business. "Our strategy has been to continue to build brand awareness on television and educate the customers on reverse mortgages, so we offer free educational videos," said CEO David Peskin. The commercials which feature Robert Wagner have helped build the SLN into the fourth largest reverse mortgage lender in the country according to RM Insight.
While the cost of producing and distributing TV commercials is out of reach for most companies, SLN executives believe TV is the best way to reach seniors and educate them on reverse mortgages. "It’s expensive, yes, but we felt it’s the best way to brand awareness for the product," said Peskin.
With more banks and brokers closing everyday, companies like SLN are betting on the reverse mortgage business because demographic data shows that the senior marketplace will continue to grow. "Every day 10,000 seniors turn 62 years old. Meanwhile a bigger and bigger percentage of the market is becoming over 62 years old. Right now we’re in the 46% range. In the next 10 years over 60% of the market will be over 62 years, which means this will become a trillion-dollar space in the next 10 years", said Peskin.
For the most part, successful reverse mortgage brokers are dedicated to the reverse space only and SLN uses this approach as well. "We are reverse mortgage specialists, that’s it. We believe that’s going to be a very big landscape of the mortgage industry over the next few years, so it’s important to us to maintain our focus," he said.
According National Mortgage News article, there are over 40,000 mortgage companies in the reverse mortgage marketplace but only 1,100 to 1,200 are actively originating reverse mortgages.
Recently the industry has seen a major shift from lenders to LIBOR based products due to FNMA’s price adjustments. "Everybody started going back to CMT loans. We are the only one who really predominantly stuck with LIBOR through the transition. We kept it in our balance sheet while we have a credit market crisis, which gives us a huge upper edge over our competition. Most people just try to buy and sell it and not really pay attention to where the market is going to be going."
Peskin would like to start selling its loans or start securitizing them, but until the credit markets come back the company plans to use KBC’s (parent company) $500 billion balance sheet to hold onto the loans.