“It’s all about leads. If you ask any true producer who is struggling right now what they need, that’s what they’ll say.”
So says Don Currie, president of California-based HighTechLending, currently No. 8 on the HECM lender list.
When HUD issued changes to the HECM program last year, Currie said it made the already elusive quality reverse mortgage lead an even more challenging get.
“HUD really delivered a devastating blow,” he said. “Lead providers are struggling to provide the industry with enough quality leads for us to survive.”
Currie explained that leads can range from aged internet leads that can cost $5 to high-intent, exclusive leads than can cost $200 to $300 each.
“All leads are not created equal,” he said. “The high-intent exclusive lead is the golden egg.”
This situation convinced Currie to take matters into his own hands. At the start of 2018, his company began to focus on lead generation, working to drum up leads internally rather than funnel serious marketing dollars to outside providers offering less-than-stellar product at a steep cost.
“We took it upon ourselves to take control of our own destiny and to grow a lead division within the walls of HighTechLending, so we can produce our own high-intent exclusive reverse mortgage leads,” Currie said.
Currie said so far, its efforts are working. HighTech’s aggressive digital marketing campaigns are driving traffic to its site, generating solid leads from proactive prospects. He said the lender’s conversion rate is averaging 10%, and its goal is to help loan officers close three to four loans per month.
HighTech is offering a program that subsidizes leads, giving loan officers who open a branch access to a lead list with a reduced rate sheet.
“They don’t make as much, but they also don’t have to come out of pocket with any money to buy leads,” Currie explained. “Many loan officers have lost their reserves and it’s very difficult for them to buy leads; in many cases they just don’t have the money.”
Currie said HighTech is assuming a proactive approach to survive in today’s market environment.
“It’s a slow growth. We are still adapting to the changes, trying to dial in the proper strategies to get us back to where we were,” he said. “Having control of your own destiny is absolutely essential right now. You simply can’t place the survival of your company at the altar of another.”