How to choose a reverse mortgage professional. - Skip to content

How to choose a reverse mortgage professional.



How To Choose A Reverse Mortgage ProfessionalThis may seem an odd subject, given that you already know who you are and what you do. But how well does your target audience understand exactly what a reverse mortgage originator / loan officer does — and how to find the best one for their needs?

You can use the following guidelines for senior lunch ‘n’ learns, as well as presentations at a Rotary Club, Lion’s Club or similar organization. You may even want to print this article as a handout (deleting the initial two paragraphs, of course!).

Six Steps to Selecting a Reverse Mortgage Professional

You’re retired, have solid equity in your home, and have been seeing ads for reverse mortgage, or HECM (home equity conversion mortgage). You’re thinking this might be beneficial for you now. How do you go about choosing the right professional to assist you?

Here are six guidelines for selecting a reverse mortgage originator (also known as a loan officer):

#1: Experience. In any field, experience is primary, and nowhere is this more crucial than when it comes to your home and financial security. Ask how long the reverse mortgage professional has been doing this type of work, and note from their response whether he or she seems to enjoy it.

A corollary to the above: is reverse mortgage lending all this person does? You want someone who has a passion for serving seniors, and who will be focused on you — not someone who’s dividing their time and attention between other types of loan activity. Because reverse mortgage is unique, it requires a dedicated specialist. After all, you wouldn’t consult a foot specialist for a hearing problem, right?

#2: Education. Like other professions, the reverse mortgage field has licensing standards. An NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System) number tells the consumer a reverse mortgage originator has “passed a background check,” so to speak, and is generally competent to handle loan transactions. Another measure of education is how well the professional knows the history of the reverse mortgage industry, and can explain how this impacts you as a potential borrower today.

You’ll also want to ask about continuing education. Someone who has earned their CRMP designation — Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (NRMLA) — has demonstrated superior knowledge and competency in the reverse mortgage field, and is dedicated to upholding the highest ethical and professional standards.

#3: Reputation. Business, like life, turns on relationships. Ask your prospective reverse mortgage originator which professionals in the community can recommend them. Financial planners, elder law attorneys, CPAs and senior care providers are all good sources who can potentially speak to a loan officer’s reputation.

#4: Resources. You want to be sure the company you choose can meet your needs. Ask whether they offer a variety of reverse mortgage products, such as both the Traditional (Standard) and “Saver” HECM, as well as fixed and adjustable loan rates. A full portfolio of products gives you more options for making the best choice for your specific situation.By the same token, ask, “How large is your organization?” While you don’t need to deal with a huge company, you do want the group you select to have a consistent track record of closing loans and handling consumer needs.

#5: Service after the sale. A reverse mortgage, by its very nature, implies an ongoing relationship. Ask, “What’s your policy after the sale is complete? Will you be available to answer any questions I may have, and later for my children if they need help selling the house?” Ideally, the company you choose will have been around long enough to have assisted the families of those who’ve purchased a reverse mortgage, once it’s time to pay back the loan.

#6: Planner vs. Product Promoter. As noted above, you’ll do best with a loan officer who cares deeply about seniors and is focused on the big picture: your income, your expenses, your health, how long you plan to remain in your home, etc. — all of which helps to shape the type of product you choose. A reverse mortgage professional whose first concern is senior service will be your partner in making a wise financial decision.


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  1. Amara,

    You presented a lot of good information that should be incorporated into a statement of qualifications for an originator and also an outline of a resume which originators should be giving to prospects. However, I do differ on one point.

    The CRMP shows a level of competence in reverse mortgages and a commitment to ethical standards required of all NRMLA members. Since no education is required other than attendance at some convention sessions, even someone with no formal education can get one.

    There are few CRMP holders and even then, a high percentage do not originate. A big reason why is that few originators see value in the designation other than to get in on some otherwise closed parties at NRMLA conventions.

  2. Hello The_Cynic,

    Thanks once again for filling in my knowledge gap! That’s too bad about the CRMP, since a professional designation ought to indicate advanced education/training and, one would hope, enhanced proficiency in one’s field. Perhaps you can lobby for stricter standards before the CRMP is conferred?

  3. Great article! As a reverse mortgage specialist, this gives me some additional ideas of things I can do to show how qualified I am to help those looking into a reverse mortgage.

  4. Thanks Reverse Mortgage UT! I’m delighted to know the article will help you better serve seniors. Please feel free to check back in later on to share your experience.

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