American Advisors Group (AAG), whose combination of vision, energy and execution have made it the nation’s No. 1 reverse mortgage lender, is now utilizing that same vigor to rapidly grow its wholesale/correspondent division. All the critical components are in place to support this growth in recognition of the company’s holistic “AAG & You, Better Together” philosophy.
“We continue to accelerate our investments into every aspect of our infrastructure so that our partners, in turn, are able to deliver that same best-in-class support and service to their clients,” said Kimberly Smith, senior vice president of wholesale/correspondent lending.
TOP EXECUTIVE TALENT
Bolstering an already deep executive team, AAG has brought on board Joe Stephenson as senior vice president of operations.
Most recently, Stephenson served as head of mortgage operations for Morgan Stanley and earlier as chief operating officer for Bank of America’s reverse mortgage channel. He joins Smith in executing AAG’s ambitious and expansive wholesale strategy.
“AAG’s recognition of home equity as a viable and practical solution for older Americans seeking a better retirement has made the company a standout in the industry,” Stephenson said. “I look forward to supporting our wholesale channel, providing even more seniors with access to an array of reverse mortgage solutions for their retirement.”
THE VALUE PROPOSITION
Driving AAG’s massive reboot is a story that keeps getting bigger and bigger. “Today, older Americans have about $7.1 trillion in home equity, which, if accessed and used responsibly and strategically, could help many seniors supplement traditional, but increasingly problematic, retirement vehicles like Social Security, pensions and 401(k) plans,” said Jesse Allen, executive vice president of alternative distribution.
“When you combine that staggering amount of home equity with the fact that about 10,000 people are turning 65 every day — a trend AARP does not expect to slow until the 2030s — you create an unprecedented market opportunity,” continued Allen.
As a result, AAG launched its “AAG & You, Better Together” program this spring, amplifying its message to its wholesale partners that the Baby Boomer cohort is a sizable segment of business worth pursuing and a viable alternative to exclusively chasing Millennials to grow their businesses.
“Our ‘AAG & You, Better Together’ program is delivering on every front for our wholesale partners,” Smith said. “By investing in the success of our partners, it’s a win for them, it’s a win for us, it’s a win for our industry, and, most importantly, it’s a win for our senior population.”
AAG’s concerted and robust expansion of its wholesale channel, greatly benefiting its partners and the senior clients they serve, shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with the company.
“Fifteen years ago, I started AAG as a passion project with a simple goal of helping seniors,” said AAG CEO and Founder Reza Jahangiri. “Today, we’re focused on going much further and helping solve the retirement crisis.”
Central to that big idea was developing a high-touch, high-functioning wholesale channel so that mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, credit union lenders, community bankers, and other financial service partners could confidently offer the highest level of support and service.
To complement AAG’s fixed- and adjustable rate HECMs, the company successfully set out to offer reverse mortgages for owners of higher-value homes that appraised for more than the government’s HECM limits.
These proprietary fixed, flex and select products now offer loan limits of up to $4 million, which allow the company’s wholesale partners to offer a far greater range of reverse mortgage solutions to their customers.
Meanwhile on the operations front, AAG is streamlining every process and procedure possible to ensure industry-leading service levels and a turn-key service experience second to none.
“From submission through funding, our goal was to make our operations a highly interactive, seamless and satisfying experience for all our wholesale partners,” said Stephenson.
COMPELLING COLLATERAL AND UNMATCHED TRAINING SUPPORT
The company has also invested vast resources in overhauling its marketing materials, adding more product-specific, compliance-reviewed content that its wholesale partners can further customize and curate for their specific needs seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Further marketing support comes in timely and topical webinars and informative newsletters containing industry news, current business trends and senior-based statistics that provide its wholesale partners with unique insights into how they can better reach and serve the Boomer generation.
“Our wholesale strategy is informed by our experience that every company operates differently and therefore has a need to customize solutions,” said Smith. “Therefore, we work closely with each of our partners to design and implement a plan that helps them grow their business.”
This collaboration also means providing industry-leading training, and offering on-site as well as online learning programs.
As part of this, the company offers the AAG Concierge Experience (ACE), which assigns an internal team of processing experts to each AAG wholesale partner to ensure their success.
In a continual effort to improve and hold itself to the highest service standards, AAG regularly monitors and surveys the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations team each month — measured by a Net Promoter Score (NPS). For April, AAG’s NPS score was 90%, compared with a banking industry average of 35%.
THE 360-DEGREE EXPERIENCE
Resulting from its immense service commitment and the sales momentum it continues to create for its partners, AAG’s servicing turnaround times are now at a record pace.
The company’s partners are both big and small, and all share a commitment to helping improve the lives of seniors.
As a high-integrity, home equity solutions leader, AAG is also easy to align with. It has built a caring, driven and ethical culture that supports and advances the goals of its customers, employees, partners and the many communities it serves.
The company has been named a “Top Workplace” on both coasts (its home base in Orange County, California, by the Orange County Register, and Long Island in New York by Newsday) and a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Award for Ethics finalist.
Currently, AAG has expanded its partnership with the Better Business Bureau to produce the Savvy Seniors program, a senior-focused fraud prevention initiative.
Meanwhile, the AAG Foundation, the company’s charitable arm, makes consistent community contributions by empowering employees with volunteer time-off, supplying monetary donations and hosting fundraising events.
Better Together? AAG certainly thinks its all-in wholesale approach will be a winning formula for its many partners and help the company dominate the wholesale market.
Its progress will be fun to watch, and when AAG does deliver, there may be 88 million seniors and their families ready to say thank you.