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With Industry Support, NRMLA Public Affairs Campaign Moves Forward

With well over $100,000 in cash commitments from members, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association tells RMD it’s able to start executing its public affairs campaign. “Our projected collections from just the companies that have already committed will provide us more than enough to proceed,” said Marty Bell, Executive VP of Marketing and Communications for the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association in an email to RMD.

A list of lenders which includes MetLife, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Genworth, Generation, AAG, JB Nutter, and Sun West Mortgage Company have all agreed to commit $15 per loan through both wholesale and retail channels. Other non-lender companies include Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Celink, New View Advisors, and New Retirement LLC.

“It’s vital to the industry to raise the awareness and really important to help combat the negative press,” said Bob Yeary, CEO of Reverse Mortgage Solutions in an interview with RMD. While RMS isn’t involved in the origination side of the business, the company still feels it needs to be one of the initial contributors to help kick start the process.

“If we can help provide people with education on reverse mortgages, it will benefit everyone in the industry,” said Yeary. Speaking from his companies experience working with local representatives in Texas, Yeary said most politicians and their aides are totally uninformed about the product or have only heard about the negative stories in the press.

“There is a fear of the misunderstood and an overblown reaction to a limited amount of occurrences about reverse mortgages,” said Peter Bell, President of NRMLA during a conference call with members discussing the campaign. This has lead to a deeper fear that these limited occurrences could happen more and is one of the reasons policy makers are reacting that something needs to be done said Bell.

To help change this, the affairs campaign will be driven by an educational effort said NRMLA. Part of the campaign will be used to collect data about reverse mortgage borrowers, the uses, and qualitative impact the product has had on their lives. Using this data, it will reach out to policy makers and media outlets to ensure the correct information is reaching the public. This includes elected officials and regulators at the state and federal level to ensure they don’t have to rely on the mis-information that many are responding to said Bell.

NRMLA said it will convene a Selection Committee made up of companies who have contributed to the initiative on April 15th to begin the process of choosing a public affairs firm that will help conceive and execute the campaign.