Written by Marty Bell, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

You Got Milk
One of the recurring questions we hear in our industry is: Why don’t we do a “Got Milk?” campaign?

Earlier this month, attendees at NRMLA’s Annual Meeting & Expo heard a presentation from Otto Kumbar, CEO of Liberty Home Equity Solutions, who has devoted a good part of the past year rallying our industry and outlining an effort he has named the Extreme Summit. The plan has one basic goal: increase overall volume from 50,000 to 300,000 loans per year by 2018.

In February of this year, in conjunction with a NRMLA Board of Directors meeting in Washington, Kumbar gathered leaders of the six currently highest-volume lending companies (“I felt we needed sizable checkbooks to begin to provide momentum for everyone,” he says) and presented a PowerPoint outlining nine initiatives to alter the conversation, including calling for a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative press coverage, engaging a force of identifiable thought leaders, funding market research, and exploring a national marketing and rebranding campaign.

A comprehensive request for proposals was prepared and submitted to a dozen advertising and public relations agencies of varying sizes from different parts of the country. Eight responded by Memorial Day with their assessment of the industry’s predicament and their strategic approach to altering it. Four were chosen as finalists and invited to prepare creative materials and present their campaigns to the group.

In June, representatives from AAG, Generation, Liberty, RMS, Urban and the new RMF, as well as NRMLA senior staff, gathered in a conference room at NRMLA’s Washington headquarters as an audience for the four presentations. It was a

head-spinning day of smart, creative ideas. The approaches and themes that seemed to run through the perceptions of all the ad creators were closing the misconception gap, shifting the focus from a “needs-based” audience to a “want-based” audience, and positioning the product as a financial planning tool with a laser focus on the promise of the future rather than on aging persons’ limitations and fears.

The next steps are selecting an agency and preparing a pilot program in two to three cities to test the effort.

Members can contribute to the effort by:

  • Generating additional ideas on how to increase volume
  • Helping enhance the plan
  • Participating in the use of the materials provided to help execute the plan
  • Providing what they can to finance the Extreme Summit activities

Bipartisan Legislation is Fun
NRMLANews photo

Pictured are Reps. Denny Heck (D-WA) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to the right of President Obama, joining HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, NRMLA President Peter Bell and HUD Deputy Secretary/FHA Commissioner Carol Galante in the Oval Office for the signing of the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013.

“Frankly it was a bit surreal,” Heck says. “On my way out, just to make sure, I turned to one of the White House staff people and asked, ‘Now that was the actual, real Oval Office, right?’”

Fitzpatrick’s staff, meanwhile, posted on Facebook: “Only 22 bills have made it to the desk of President Obama for signature and one of them belongs to Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.”

The two congressmen who sponsored the legislation in the House of Representatives attended an October meeting of the NRMLA Board of Directors in Washington and expressed great support for the HECM program, giddy pride in getting the bipartisan bill passed in the current political climate, and great admiration for each other.

“It’s still possible to get things done in Washington, D.C., if you’re willing

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to reach across the aisle and focus on the substance of issues,” Heck says.

In Committee
-NRMLA, with input from the Risk and Compliance Committee, submitted a letter to FHA that offers suggestions on improving the agency’s Quality Assurance Process (QAP).

FHA published a notice in the Federal Register on July 9 seeking input from the lending community, consumer groups and the general public. Comments were due on September 9.

NRMLA requested that any changes adopted through the solicitation first be published as a proposed rule, so that the industry has an opportunity to comment. The association also pointed out that HUD guidance can be difficult to discern or inconsistent with what is published in handbooks and regulations, and is sometimes interpreted or applied differently among the four homeownership centers.

“Thus, before FHA makes any changes in the QAP, it should first address what some perceive to be an area for improvement in FHA review of loan endorsements,” the letter says.

-The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published a notice in the Federal Register on September 12 seeking public input on the benefits and costs associated with the Financial Assessment. Comments were due October 15, 2013.

NRMLA has convened a Financial Assessment Working Group that has been meeting regularly and preparing comments to submit.

Save the Date—St. Paddy’s Day in NYC
For the third straight year, NRMLA will be returning to New York for its 2014 Eastern Regional Conference. Holding the conference in Gotham provides an annual opportunity to bring together the mutually dependent lending and investing communities.

We will return to the beautiful Intercontinental New York Times Square Hotel on March 17 and 18.

Professionals Achieve CRMP Status
NRMLA congratulates the following individuals for achieving the status of Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP):

  • Laurie Libby, Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Newport Beach, California
  • Sue Milligan, Alpha Mortgage, Metairie, Louisiana
  • Jay Zayer, Aramco Mortgage, Carlsbad, California

Sixty-seven individuals have earned the CRMP designation since mid-2010, and every one of them is prominently listed on the NRMLA consumer website,

NRMLA Welcomes New Members
NRMLA welcomes the following companies, which recently joined the association:

  • A New Mexico Reverse Mortgage, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • The Stone Hill Group, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia
  • National Field Representatives, Claremont, New Hampshire
  • 1st California Home Loans, Laguna Hills, California
  • CBC National Bank, Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Integrity Home Loan of Central Florida, Lake Mary, Florida hits a new high …again!
In the last issue of The Reverse Review, we were excited to report that our industry’s consumer information website,, which averaged more than 17,000 unique visitors per month over the past year, had achieved a new record of more than 23,000 hits in August. Little did we know that was just chump change. In September, more than 28,000 unique visitors spent time on the site, which contains listings of all lender/members.

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