After a steady period of increased home price appreciation, many senior homeowners now have a solid foundation of equity in their homes. For Baby Boomers entering retirement, tapping into their home equity with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), commonly known as a reverse mortgage loan, can enable them to stay financially secure in their current homes during a potentially long retirement.
Within AAG’s wholesale division, the feedback the company continued to hear from its brokers (some 800+ of them) is that borrowers and family members are still being influenced by old assumptions about HECM products, which have changed significantly since they were introduced by the Reagan administration in 1989. New regulations have improved standards and added safeguards, to further protect older Americans, making home equity mortgages now another option as a strategic financial planning tool for many seniors.
“There’s a broad consensus among retirement experts and academics that using home equity, responsibly and strategically on the front end of a retirement plan, produces materially better outcomes for seniors, said Reza Jahangiri, AAG Chief Executive Officer. “Proprietary products are also helping to change the perception of both reverse mortgage loans and home equity extraction. This is leading to changes in the retirement planning model which will ultimately show the benefits of incorporating home equity early in the retirement-planning process, similar to how pensions, 401ks and Social Security are factored in now.”
In 2015, AAG transformed its business model into a product-agnostic, solutions-oriented business tightly focused on helping seniors leverage home equity to achieve financial security. In 2018, AAG debuted a new brand message, “Retire Better,” to change the conversation — and mindset — around using home equity.
Retire Better focuses on delivering thoughtful solutions and personalized services to America’s growing senior population.
“Before Retire Better, our advertising spoke directly to those seeking more financial stability,” said Jahangiri. “Now we have broadened our appeal to anyone who can envision a better retirement — almost every retiree has their own version of ‘better.’”
As part of the transformation, AAG’s retail divisions converted to a holistic sales model which enables mortgage professionals to offer both traditional and reverse mortgage loans, as well as to refer customers to AAG Residential Services who may prefer to sell their homes.
“Similarly, within our wholesale division, we have expanded our broker solutions portfolio to include more robust option-based selling approaches, targeted education focusing on individual needs, and industry-leading marketing collateral to support a more streamlined approach to activating home equity in retirement,” said Kim Smith, AAG Senior Vice President of Wholesale.
In addition, AAG recently launched its new wholesale brand, AAG & You, Better Together, focusing on the company’s partner relationships and its ability to communicate and educate both retirement planning professionals, realtors and other trusted senior advisors.
Reza Jahangiri, Chief Executive Officer
Reza Jahangiri is founder and chief executive officer of AAG. Jahangiri also serves as co-chairman of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association board of directors, as well as chairman of the board for Willow International, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing and rescuing victims of human trafficking in Uganda.
Kimberly Smith, Senior Vice President, Wholesale
As senior vice president of wholesale lending, Kimberly Smith is responsible for the production and growth of AAG’s wholesale division. Prior to joining AAG in January 2013, Smith was the executive vice president of sales at Generation Mortgage where she oversaw all sales operations for the top-five reverse mortgage lender.