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Urban Hires 3 Former MetLife Managers for Reverse Mortgage Retail Growth

Urban Financial this week announced three new managers, formerly of MetLife, as part of an effort to ramp up grown in its retail reverse mortgage channel.

Geoffrey Wallace, based in California, will lead Urban’s western regional efforts, while Bill Cavanaugh will lead the Central region with Jim McMinn heading up the eastern efforts from his base in Connecticut.

Each area manager will manage a group of reverse mortgage consultants with plans to grow their respective teams, Urban CEO Steve McClellan told RMD.

The hires are part of a larger plan to grow the company’s retail division, which comprises several different channels. The West Coast operation includes an outbound telemarketing center based on web technology to drive leads as well as boots-on-the ground originators. The company aims to have 20-25 people working for the three area managers with some hiring already under way.

The company has risen to the top wholesale spot in recent months following the exits of big bank players Bank of America and MetLife, and while retail currently comprises roughy 12%-15% of the company’s business overall, Urban plans to target retail growth to an extent.

“We want to grow expeditiously,” McLellan says. “We’ll find the right balance over time.”

Already licensed in most states, the company is targeting the entire continental U.S. with a concentration in areas of higher home values. MetLife’s recent exit will position Urban to hire selectively, McLellan says.

“We’re being extremely selective,” he says. “[MetLife] has some excellent producers and within them quite a few that fit well with the types of qualities we are looking for and a similar view of how we are approaching this business.”

As for the company’s long term outlook on growth, MeClellan says the HECM Saver presents a new opportunity that has not yet been fully realized.

“We’re beginning to see interest in the Saver program. The Saver appeals to a different client, so sourcing those customers is a little different. It’s one of the reasons we are excited about this retail effort. We’re beginning to get traction there and sooner or later home values will appreciate. That will be the ‘nitroglycerine’ in our fuel.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker