Written by By Otto Kumbar, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

As the industry continues to shrink, the need to fight against the trend and help more seniors has never been greater. The Extreme Summit is designed to help you through three significant programs in 2014.

This article will concentrate on the first initiative: Geo-targeting, a fancy name for focusing on the best areas of opportunity. Through geo-targeting, you can maximize the efficiency of your sales and marketing spend while growing penetration through the concentrated efforts of many. You should consider targeting some of your sales and marketing efforts in the identified geographies. The geo-targeting effort runs from March through August of 2014.

Marty Bell, SVP of marketing and communications at NRMLA, is already working on the second initiative: 3:1 Positive Impressions, an educational effort designed to shift press coverage toward the facts. As we expected, this has been largely effective with three positive articles for every negative one. Over time, this will serve as an important foundation for changing the perception of the product from a product of last resort to an essential part of everyone’s retirement planning.

The third initiative, Rewrapping the Product, will consist of launching local TV ads, local media and outreach events to help educate seniors on the planning benefits of a reverse mortgage. Rewrapping the Product will pilot in three major U.S. cities in late spring.

All three initiatives are designed to be complementary in scope and will be monitored for success.

Geo-Targeting
Some industry participants noticed that “critical mass” in a community matters to the understanding of reverse mortgages. John Lunde from Reverse Market Insight was able to prove this mathematically. The next best place to write a new reverse mortgage is where reverse mortgages already have a high penetration. It’s logical: Where there are more seniors already happy

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Lunde then ran the model forward to see if he could identify the best 2014 opportunities. His list was then vetted through some additional screens, such as house price appreciation, to identify the best target markets.

As a result of the study, Lunde commented, “We’ve noticed in our work that several factors tend to increase reverse mortgage volume in an area: home price increases, more existing borrowers as a percentage of eligible households (penetration), more loans originated in the recent past, and higher/lower home price areas. We did a rigorous study of these trends and how they interact with each other to create a projection model for loans and maximum claim amount (MCA) volumes. We looked all the way back to 1989 to study these patterns, and the list presented [below] uses volume through 2013 to project 2014 results.”

For the purposes of this effort, we’ve limited this list to the top 20 opportunities. Please contact RMI if you’re interested in how your favorite market ranks.

Call to Action
This is a fully decentralized effort. Do as much or as little as you want. Some industry participants will simply accelerate the campaigns and lead sources that already work for them. If your firm is an expert on mail, consider concentrating your efforts in that area. Focus on what you do best.

Other firms will take the opportunity to experiment with new outreach programs with lots of local attention. For example, seminars may be more productive for a firm in one community than they would be in a different community. Remember that the model specifically accounted for higher home values in increasing House Price Appreciation (HPA) markets. Your focus should be on your most productive targets.

If you’d like more information, please contact one of the firms sponsoring the 2014 Extreme Summit pilot programs: AAG, Generation Mortgage Company, Liberty Home Equity Solutions, OneReverse, RMS/Security One Lending and Urban Financial of America. They may have additional ideas or suggestions for your efforts.

Extreme Summit targets