Reverse mortgage lender Finance of America Reverse announced it is rebranding as a provider of retirement solutions dedicated to helping people “get to work on retirement.”
As part of the company's new brand positioning, FAR has partnered with Silvernest, an online service that pairs older homeowners with qualified housemates.
FAR, which is backed by Blackstone Group, is currently the No. 2 lender in the reverse mortgage space with about 10% of market share. It has been a pioneer in the development of non-agency reverse mortgage products, releasing three iterations of its HomeSafe proprietary jumbo reverse mortgage this year.
It appears part of FAR's strategy is to reach beyond the HECM, coupling its innovation in the proprietary reverse mortgage market with a move to embrace alternative solutions designed to help seniors build a more comfortable retirement.
FAR President Kristen Sieffert explained that the rebrand was inspired by feedback it received from the consumer research it conducted to better understand the home equity’s role in retirement.
“We learned that before anyone can consider using home equity – or any loan product – to fund retirement, they need to make a decision to be proactive about planning for retirement,” Sieffert said. “That finding motivated us to not only continue building a comprehensive product suite, but also to identify what else we could do to break down barriers to achieving a fulfilling retirement and integrate that into our business.”
FAR said its research revealed that only 11% of the senior homeowners in its focus group had positive feelings about reverse mortgages and that many expressed an interest in learning more about the long-term value of incorporating one earlier in their retirement planning.
The lender also said that focus group participants reported complicated feelings about their retirement, saying they felt insecure and stuck when it came to planning for the future.
“At the heart of how we approached realigning our business practices to our purpose is a core belief that if people discover a way to break free from their paralysis and fear and distractions, they get a renewed energy for retirement and take action to improve their lives,” said Sieffert.
“From there, we looked beyond just building a successful loan experience to what becoming the most beloved brand for people who are making retirement work actually looks like and how we can better connect borrowers with resources within the Finance of America family beyond reverse mortgages,” Sieffert continued.
As part of its new focus, FAR has established a borrower engagement team, which will provide information and resources to borrowers beyond loan products to aid them in building a comfortable retirement.
FAR is not the only reverse mortgage lender to rebrand this year.
In June, top lender American Advisors Group also announced a move to become a “holistic provider of retirement solutions.” As part of the effort, the lender folded traditional mortgage products and senior-focused real estate services into its product mix.
FAR’s rebrand doesn’t appear to include traditional mortgages, instead embracing a focus on education to help consumers navigate retirement income planning.
Sieffert said the move is essential to help elevate the conversation about reverse mortgages.
“In order to be a good long-term partner to our borrowers and truly change the conversation about reverse mortgages, it’s critical that we become more than a just a lender,” she said. “We’re taking the first step today and look forward to building on this momentum in the coming months.”