Reverse Mortgage Pro outlines the industry’s advocacy mission and the current need for the product

Sometimes when a person finds a path to a career, they can succeed in becoming more than just a job. For Wendy Peel, who discovered the reverse mortgage industry through her passion for marketing, being part of the industry has become more than a profession. Instead, it evolved into something of a mission.

This is according to a conversation with Peel, who recently attended an episode of the RMD podcast which is now available. After spending several years with the reverse mortgage (LOS) origination system ReverseVision, Peel found the opportunity to set up a reverse mortgage advisory practice with the BlackFin Group and described to RMD some of his observations. on the industry based on this experience.

Become a lawyer

Regarding her work with BlackFin at the consultancy, Peel describes how she grew from an industry professional to an advocate by looking at the experiences of those around her.

Wendy Peel

“I’ve seen some really good people in this industry work so hard, and not really move the needle,” she says, describing the ongoing product education process for consumers and other businesses. “I’m a person with a passion for outsiders, and I honestly felt like there were disconnects between technology and the evolution of the direct-to-consumer market. And honestly, in terms of messages to borrowers and even the industry, I was shocked at how many people in the mortgage industry were so wrong about this loan program. So bad about it.

Peel also describes an increased level of empathy with reverse mortgage demographics over the years, she explains.

“I’m getting older myself, I started to be careful,” she says. “One of my favorite aunts got a 30-year fixed rate mortgage when she was 67, so she could put a deck on her house. No one even told him about a setback, it wasn’t even an option. It really struck me.

See a difference first hand

She also described a conversation with acquaintances at a neighborhood wine bar when the topic shifted to reverse mortgages. The owners of the wine bar asked if anyone knew the products, and Peel then informed them of his place in the industry.

“Their father was in care and they were spending money out of pocket, her and her siblings,” she explains. “He is sitting on a [home value of] a few million dollars here in Southern California, and they pay for nurses and other care. And her mom wasn’t in great shape either, so I got to see the product first hand and how it worked. I believe it.”

Like many reverse mortgage professionals, Peel argues that the reverse mortgage isn’t always something that can work universally for every senior, but it’s important to include the product in an overall conversation about retirement funding. .

“It’s silly [that the reverse mortgage product] is not part of [that dialogue]” she says. “With what has happened in the last few years, I am afraid that a lot of people between the ages of 55 and 65 have taken out an 80% cash-out refi. At 80% you are not going to be qualify for a reverse mortgage and the retirement crisis will even get worse It saddens me that people work their whole lives and sit on equity, and they can’t have a decent quality of life .

Rate volatility, advice

Another factor playing into the retirement picture in the United States today is the mortgage rate environment. Rates have been significantly affected by economic volatility, with lenders recently taking steps to pivot on pricing and product features, but Peel believes the impact of the rate environment may not be as severe for the reverse. that they seem to be eventually.

“Honestly, I don’t think the rates will have an impact [reverse] as badly as traditional mortgages are affected right now,” she says. “And the reason I say that is because once borrowers know about the product, they’re a little less responsive because the math makes sense to them. But overall, I’m worried about new borrowers entering the market. […] If interest rates rise and we enter a flat LTV, a borrower does not get a reverse mortgage. And at a flat rate of growth, which is likely to happen even if it’s a mild recession, I don’t see us going into a crash like we did in 2008 in our industry, because the regulations worked.

For Peel, this also brings to mind the issue of counseling, as the likelihood of a borrower going through the full reverse mortgage process increases dramatically after attending the required counseling session. However, the council can also be seen as a detractor, she explains.

“I was wondering with all the regulatory changes, what is the purpose of the advice?” she asks. “I understand that in the past this product was considered predatory, but with an LTV of 55%, is it predatory at this point? I don’t think so. I think the opportunities are to really educate at a political level about the how the changes that have already come into play could make it easier for seniors to age, which the majority want to do.

The potential impacts of a recession

Peel also isn’t convinced that a looming recession will have a crippling impact on the reverse mortgage industry, she says.

“I think we’re going to slow down, but that’s a typical supply and demand issue,” she said. “If you look at anything right now, people have over-ordered because there are supply chain issues, and now everything in the world is on sale. Now they think they might having too much inventory due to the impending recession.”

On top of that, the older population has remained generally conservative in their spending, she says, which will help them. That’s not to say rocky roads are completely avoidable for the mortgage industry as a whole, though.

“Mortgage as a whole is going to have a lot of challenges, no doubt, because they’re going to have to think about strategy a little differently,” she says. “Interest rates stayed low as long as they were coupled with rising house prices, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. It wasn’t hard to get people So I think traditionally they’re going to have to really think things through, but it’s a huge opportunity for investors in reverse mortgages if played right.

Listen to the full discussion in the latest episode of the RMD podcast.

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