If there is one thing you have to bring when offering reverse mortgages to senior homeowners, Frank Melia (pictured) says it has to be patience. Lots and lots of it.
A mortgage professional with a focus on Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), Melia has been helping senior homeowners with reverse mortgages since the early 2000s. Before entering the retail mortgage banking industry, he was a stockbroker assisting individuals with their retirement investments. While there’s an overlap between the industries, Melia said that his previous job as a producing manager for a NY-based mortgage banker was a huge adjustment from the fast pace he was used to on Wall Street.
Melia shares that now and then, he sits down with a widow who just lost her husband and explains to her the program details, which he admits, can be quite a challenge.
“She may not understand all the guidelines when I first go over everything, so I have learned to explain everything a few times if needed,” he said.
But Melia, currently the vice president of senior lending and reverse manager at Quontic Bank, has always enjoyed being an educator. He learned early in his career that education is the key to success, and one way he achieves this is by educating his referral sources, who view him as an expert in his field. His business is strictly referral-based, and Melia works closely with elder law attorneys, financial advisors and accountants. He offers them continuing education courses and introduces them to different loan programs.
“Sometimes it gets frustrating because we do such a great job educating our referral sources that many prospects call us daily, and sometimes, I can’t get back to everyone as quick as I would like,” he shared. “I now let all prospects know that I will get back to them within 48 hours so I can be efficient and not disappoint any new prospects.”
Knowledge has been a crucial part of Melia’s success, but the seasoned mortgage originator considers his team his biggest success yet. He has grown it to five people and looks forward to adding two to three more individuals. Although he regrets not doing this sooner, Melia is happy where they are. At their 2020 growth rate, he sees his team doing over $1 billion in annual loan production and helping more families with trust borrowing options in the next five years.
“I have realized over the years that you need to expand your team and invest in your business,” he said. “Many MLO’s look at this as an expense, where I have always look at growth as an investment. I couldn’t provide expert service and product knowledge without the support of a great team.”