Written by Ed O’Connor, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

After more than a decade originating reverse mortgages, I can confidently say this is a great business to be in. Where else can you have a dramatic impact on the lives of so many people, people who trust and rely on your experience and knowledge? Change brings about opportunity; opportunity brings more change. If you have been in this business for more than three years, you have seen many, many changes. I have seen this business evolve tremendously in my time, and while I don’t always agree with it all, I realize that I have to accept it and move forward. As an industry, we need to continue to focus on the ultimate goal, education—both for us and for the seniors.

Seniors are a protected class and should be treated as such. Our industry is facing intense scrutiny right now, from HUD oversight to counseling protocols. This is a big sign that we need to do the right thing along the way. The bottom line is, the more we educate potential borrowers, the better off they are. The greatest thing we can do is continue to learn, educate ourselves and share that knowledge.

The CRMP designation is one thing originators can obtain to add to that level of trust. Seniors may not understand

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the process of CRMP designation and the level of detail involved, but certified credentials do mean something. They offer consumers a level of assurance and comfort, signaling that the certified individual is recognized in his industry and among his peers as someone capable of executing his job properly and professionally. Earning the CRMP designation not only supports the NRMLA initiative, but can also offer the credited individual a sense of satisfaction that he is continuing to learn and improve his or her skills.

This concept of education in the reverse space also applies to the sales approach. In my view, for example, I don’t “sell” reverse mortgages, but I do educate my clients on the benefits of the product. If it’s the right fit, then the client can clearly see how they can improve their situation through the use of this tool.

This industry has made tremendous strides in marketing via television, radio and print, but we still have a way to go to reduce borrower anxiety about the product. This is only done through education and the development of trust.

We have all seen the lawsuits out there claiming one injustice or another connected to a reverse mortgage filed by a remaining family member who was not involved in the process. Educating the public about the product can help continue to safeguard our clients. We can protect ourselves by spreading the word about how this product can be used properly to help seniors achieve financial security.

Any way you look at it, the fact remains that education is the key to advancement in this business. The people you work with are your partners in business, so choose your staff, your loan officers and your vendors carefully. Everyone needs to share that same pro-education ideology in order to bring about the best results possible.

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