Reverse mortgages: How do you attract new borrowers?

by Ryan Smith05 Sep 2014
With 10,000 people a day turning 62, the market for reverse mortgages is always growing. But how does an originator reach out to the ever-growing population of eligible borrowers?

“There are several different ways to target the population,” says Kimberly Smith, senior vice president of wholesale lending for American Advisors Group. “One of them is television. American Advisors Group does a lot of television advertisements. We actually do sell those leads, so that’s one way to generate business. Most brokers are out on the streets talking to people, financial planners. There’s also mail, social media – all kinds of different avenues. I would say that the same way you’re generating your forward leads, you can generate reverse leads as well.”

And seniors today are more comfortable with technology than ever before, Smith says.

“The seniors are getting younger and much more tech-savvy, so we’re seeing a huge increase in lead generation online,” she says.

“One of our most successful branches does pay-per-click – Google AdWords and such,” agrees Don Currie, president of HighTechLending. “What we’re finding is that whereas 10 years ago many seniors didn’t even have computers, now because the Baby Boomers are turning 62, they are going online. They’re shopping for reverse mortgages online, and they’re very intelligent and very savvy. For us at HighTechLending, that’s really something we’re focusing on.”

But it’s not only seniors that reverse originators should be marketing too, Smith says – it’s also their children.

“They’re what we call the sandwich generation; they’re still taking care of their kids, and now they’re helping their parents out as well,” she says. “So a reverse mortgage is a great tool for that generation to help their parents out.”

Selecting a strategy

But with so many marketing options, how do originators decide what will be most effective for them? The important thing, the experts say, isn’t so much the tools you have as how you use them.

“The key to this industry is relationships. So when it comes to marketing reverse mortgages, I don’t think you can do just one thing,” Smith says. “I think you need to be doing a couple of different things, building those relationships with financial planners so you can get the referrals, as well as the consumer. I mean, there’s nothing more powerful than a testimonial from one of your senior borrowers.”

“At HighTechLending, we use many different mediums of marketing, whether it’s direct mail or social media, and what we’ve found is that they all work,” Currie says. “Seniors take the message from different media in different ways, and we found that by going out to the house and actually meeting with the senior face to face, your chance of closing went up exponentially.”

Want to know more about reverse mortgages? Check out our round table discussion with a panel of the top experts in the field. You can catch Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here.


Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?