Attendees reenergized by reconnecting with peers at NRMLA conference

The chance to talk shop and reconnect with peers buoyed spirits at the conference held in Irvine

While most conversations at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) Western Regional Meeting in Irvine focused on high rates and liquidity, many attendees felt reenergized as they reconnected with peers, compared notes, and caught up.

While the industry’s challenges are still a reality, many attendees described the environment as invigorating and were eager to try lessons and tips offered by the programming and their peers.

In the right place

It can be difficult to stand out at any business conference, but Angela Wyckoff of Amerifund Home Loans pulled it off.

Wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed her love for reverse mortgages, Wyckoff described a challenging situation from her childhood that convinced her a reverse mortgage had potential utility for seniors.

Angela Wyckoff at the NRMLA Western Regional Meeting in Irvine this week.

“When I was 13, I had to live with my grandmother, who was taking care of my great-grandmother,” she said. “She struggled to care for her and physically and moved her into a nursing home, which was cold. She begged us to take her home. She refused to take her medications and eventually stopped eating. She died there, so I’ve made it my purpose to help seniors so that they can stay in their home and use the reverse mortgage to get the care they need brought to them.”

Wyckoff said she has faced the same challenges as her peers, but still felt encouraged among other industry professionals.

“[It’s been] encouraging,” she said. “It’s encouraging to see the turnout of the event, and because there’s only 4% market share we just need to continue to educate additional loan officers to continue to get the word out there.”

While she is still feeling the impact of the return to in-person events, she is encouraged by attendance being on par with last year’s Western Regional Meeting.

Energy produces energy

Paul Scheper of Loangevity Mortgage, who holds NRMLA’s Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) designation, also felt invigorated among peers. Talking about how to develop business going forward outside of an industry event like the one held in Irvine, he said.

“I think this is an invigorating event because you see people, and energy produces energy,” Scheper said. “It’s good to talk about positivity and new ideas, and the marketing sessions were excellent. We’re all out there trying so hard, and the ‘three T’s’ of this business is ‘testing, testing testing.’”

That sometimes comes with failure, but searching for ways to connect with clients pays off, and the likelihood of success increases as you share things that have and haven’t worked, he said.

“When you’re in the hallways with some of these associates, these people who are friendly competitors, we get encouraging ideas,” Scheper said. “No one’s hiding their ideas. So, I think it’s a real collaborative, team environment. We’re in the industry together and all we’re trying to do is improve the lives of seniors.”

That sentiment was shared by Keith Murphy, CFO/co-founder of GM Funding.

“It’s nice to get out of the office and get with some peers in the industry, and recharge those batteries,” he said. “A lot of history in business is when you’ll make the mistake of trying to hide everything and keep everything to yourself. But when you get together and start sharing your successes and sharing the information with each other, the tide rises and lifts all of us.”

In it together

Industry market share is low, which needs to be improved, Murphy said. But the benefit of being active in a smaller industry is that it creates a collaborative environment between professionals who are technically competitors.

“We can all help each other,” he said. “By raising the availability, the education level and the value of reverse mortgages together, we all prosper.”

And, most of the other attendees appeared to feel the same excitement, Murphy said.

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