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Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten


Early Lessons Learned & Remembered
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Reverse Industry News

Why should I reflect upon kindergarten as a man in his 40’s? Well it’s where we first began to learn about social dynamics and working with others. Prior to that our social circle consisted of either mom, dad and possibly siblings. Can we really apply anything we learned while sipping kool iad, playing with toys and learning to count? Most certainly. The book “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Rogert Fulghum calls us back to our core values and a simpler time in life when things were…well let’s say more black and white. Watch the news and you see that industry titans, politicians and celebrities have apparently forgotten what they were taught. Unfortunately their behavior has become the new ‘normal’. So here are a few take aways from my reading and how they can apply to you, the reverse mortgage professional. #1 Share everything.


Editor in Chief: HECMWorld.com
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at HECMWorld.com, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
Readers wishing to submit stories or interview requests can reach our team at: info@hecmworld.com.

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  1. There are very few businesses that allow a person to work with whom they choose. We are truly blessed to be in one of those businesses and it is squarely on our shoulders to make the best of it and cultivate the clientele we want.
    Just like the ABC’s a solid foundation is necessary to be successful and quality referral sources is that foundation, held together with the mortar of customer service.

    • Mr. Danner,

      Nicely stated.

  2. Just yesterday I was reminded once again that taking care of our customers requires fundamental hand holding. We found out the hard way that when an originator failed to call the customer to remind them of a meeting with a third party vendor, the loan was held up for two weeks simply because this young and competent senior forgot about the appointment. That was a hard lesson to relearn at many levels not only because of the lost time but also because of additional fees incurred.

    I was never in kindergarten but I believe one of the fundamental things which were taught was that there are times when it is important to hold onto the hand of other students. That principle has been expanded into Reverse Mortgage 101 for Originators.

    Providing strong basic customer service lies as the bedrock of meeting customer expectations and producing a strong referral source of business.

    • Excellent story and analogy of holding the hand of borrowers. Thank you!

  3. My Kindergarten teacher was real pretty and I asked her to marry me, that is what I remember, then she died of cancer at towards the end of the school year. True story. No wonder grade schools was the hardest eight years of my life!

    • Thank you Tom. That was a bittersweet and humorous story. Ah, the wonder years….


  5. What factor do they use for an adverse market valuation of products? Is this designed to accommodate price increases of property, and why can’t areas of the country that are exceeding the norms in other places not be given consideration for other products? As sophisticated as technology is, we could actually do specific zip codes, thereby actually serving seniors in the way we should be instead of punishing ones because of the lack of growth in other areas.If we are at the stage of “overhaul” then lets do it right, secondary would certainly welcome same.

    • Mr. Danner,

      HUD analyzes its outstanding insurance by geographic areas. This is exactly how they arrive at a negative valuation.

      Yes, there are gains in some areas of the country but those gains belong to the homeowners and their heirs, not HUD. The most HUD will “gain” when the property value exceeds the balance due are the insurance proceeds previously paid to HUD since those proceeds will not be consumed in reimbursing a note holder for a loss.

      We need to realize that the actuaries are not picking numbers out of the air or with limited understanding of insurance products. There are three sides to a HECM. The first is, it is insurance as to HUD with contingent liabilities for losses except when it comes to what occurs following assignment. It also generates gross income but unlike normal insurance, Congress appropriates money to offset all general, administrative, operating, and selling costs. As to the note holder, it is an interest producing asset. As to the borrower, it is a mortgage.

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