Last month, American Advisors Group (AAG) announced the company was adding government-backed Veterans Affairs (VA) loans to its lineup of product offerings, differentiating its offering from the standard VA loan by focusing marketing efforts more specifically on the needs of older veterans.
The company says it has staked a unique position in the larger market for VA-sponsored loans, given its specific focus on older veterans.
“AAG professionals are specially trained to work with seniors. It’s our entire demographic. Working with senior citizens requires special considerations and sensitivities,” said Paul Fiore, AAG Chief Retail Sales & Operations Officer in an emailed statement to RMD.
According to data from the Housing Assistance Council, veterans make up 9 percent of the total population in the United States as of 2014. Of those, 13 million veterans are over the age of 55, while VA mortgage activity has seen a notable increase: they represented 2 percent of all home purchase loans in 2005, but that figure rose to 9 percent in 2014.
Additionally, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, 76 percent of all American veterans owned their homes as of 2014.
Fiore continued, remarking that working with older veterans, “requires patience and empathy, the willingness to listen to their situations and then guide them through their options for accessing their home equity, often their most valuable asset.”
In order to prepare AAG employees for this more focused service, the company created unique training programs to brief them on the specific needs of older veterans.
“We have special trainings, including ‘generation swap’ exercises, and are senior-focused in everything we do: from using a ‘kitchen table’ sales approach to giving our customers a full-range of options so they can feel confident in their decisions,” Fiore said.
The company realized the offering was one the market had yet to fulfill, Fiore continued, leading to the creation of this new business channel.
“With the VA loan, our market research showed a lack of senior-focused VA lending,” his statement read. “We found companies that specialize in veterans, but none that focus exclusively on older veterans like AAG.”
He continued by saying that while some companies may market themselves as “veteran-friendly” or that maintain 24/7 service to accommodate overseas veterans, these don’t fulfill the needs of veterans that are more advanced in age.
“AAG is only focused on older veterans; so in contrast, we are ‘senior-friendly.’ Most of our veteran customers are retired homeowners living in the U.S. We believe that makes us the only financial services company exclusively focused on older veterans,” he concluded.
Written by Chris Clow