It’s been a hard year for the reverse mortgage industry, and like other lenders in the space, Resolute Bank has used the down market to rethink its business strategy.
In the wake of program changes that took effect on Oct. 2nd of last year, the reverse team at Resolute took a good look at its business structure and decided it was time to return to grassroots.
A federally chartered bank, Ohio-based Resolute can originate both traditional and reverse mortgage loans in all 50 states.
Coming in at No. 19 on the most recent Top 100 HECM Lenders list, Resolute has done a steady reverse mortgage business in recent years, with its volume scattered but focused mostly in California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, New York and the Carolinas.
John Metcalf, Resolute’s HECM business development manager, said the changes forced the company to tighten its team and reconsider its marketing.
“Our first focus post 10/2 was to look at our grassroots efforts again, focusing on the local communities,” Metcalf said. “When you’re at a federally chartered bank, as you start to expand and market or buy leads in other states, you spend less time in your local community.”
Metcalf said part of Resolute’s strategy is to change that tendency.
“We’ve been doing a lot of training and webinars for our team to get them refocused on grassroots,” he said. “Some of our best producers are the ones who are most consistently out meeting with their banking partners, their networking partners, financial planners, etc.”
“We’ve seen some loan officers continue to be very successful post 10/2,” he continued. “The ones who are out there meeting with their referral partners consistently and aggressively are seeing their volume stay pretty strong.”
Metcalf is adamant that building personal relationships is key to developing a strong reverse origination business in today’s climate.
“Get involved with people you want to work with and who you enjoy spending time with, because those are the people who are going to refer you the business, and it’s just a much easier sales process,” he said.
It also takes competition out of the equation, Metcalf said.
“Competition is fierce right now, especially dealing with our new [interest rate] floor and pricing loans, so I think having a customer come from a mutual connection and a trusted partner is a big help right now,” he said.
To help its team learn who to adopt a relationship marketing strategy, Resolute has created a corporate culture that thrives on collaboration, especially with its outside sales team.
“We try to focus on collaboration and communication with the team. Our sales meetings are round tables, with our loan officers talking about what’s working for them and what roadblocks they’ve hit over the last week, and how they overcame those obstacles,” he said.
The bank hosts marketing masterclasses where a successful loan officer presents his or her business strategy to the team, Metcalf said.
“We really saw a change in the team dynamic when we started getting people together and having them get to know each other. When you create that environment, people want to share and they want to bring what they know to the table because, ultimately, if the bank does well, we all do well. And as a team, the more successful we can be together, the more successful we can be individually.”
Metcalf said the next step is to add to his team of 14 reverse-focused LOs.
“We have a small, tight-knit team of originators now, and we’re ready to add to that team,” he said. “For us, recruiting is a big point right now in building our business up after 10/2. We want to find loan originators who are pigeonholed in a state or and give them the opportunity to expand their reach.”