It is unbelievable how fast time flies. It feels like just a few years ago, it was 1992 and I was first learning about the mortgage business. I had just recorded my first radio report, and I was experiencing for the first time how the business could be both lucrative and unprofitable, how it could be exciting, then dreary, and always viciously volatile. I remember the ups and downs all too well, and while I look back on the days of easy lending, high yields and less paperwork with great nostalgia, I feel extremely blessed to have stumbled upon the truly energizing, exciting and ever-evolving specialty of reverse mortgages.
Today, my sons and I run Aramco Financial, a division of The Aramco Group and one of the largest reverse mortgage firms in San Diego County. As we approach this new year, I feel like this is a great time for all of us in the industry to take just a few moments to acknowledge how fortunate we are to be in the business we are in, and how vitally important our expertise and services are to our clients. The amount of trust seniors put in their reverse mortgage professionals really rivals the trust a patient puts in a surgeon. These people trust our experience, expertise and good judgment before “going under the knife” and putting their financial future in our hands. This aspect of our duty simply cannot be overlooked, and while it is easy to be distracted by inflating commissions and sometimes monotonous days, we can never forget to put the people who have trusted us, our “patients,” before all else.
We have all been taught the age-old phrase, “Give and you shall receive.” Do we give our clients our best efforts expecting a large check in return? Yes, perhaps now more than ever. But more importantly, what we are gaining from these transactions—or better yet, these relationships—is the gratitude of people whose reverse mortgages will allow them to live a better life. More than anything, this is what keeps me going on a day-to-day basis: that rewarding feeling, the gift baskets, the letters, the appreciative words of people who put their trust in us.
There is a lot to be excited about in the upcoming year. Increased public awareness, rising home values and aging demographics should continue to fuel the growth of reverse mortgages. While government changes will likely remain a constant concern, we must realize that there are some aspects of this business we can control, and other aspects we simply cannot. That said, each and every originator plays an enormous role in the future of the reverse mortgage product. With positive reviews and satisfied seniors, the word will spread. The country will be sold on this product not by spokesmen, but by your clients’ friends, families and neighbors who will see firsthand the benefits of the product and the professionalism of their specialists.
After more than 20 years in this business, I’ve learned to be thankful for every additional year in this industry and I begin each year with increased energy and a disciplined plan. The beautiful thing about the reverse mortgage industry is that the key to success has not been patented or even fully discovered, and that an innovative mind that puts one’s clients before anything else can always find success. So remember in this new year the importance of your advice to your clients. Give them the service and professionalism they deserve, and hopefully you will receive plenty in return.