FAR Expands Reverse Mortgage Education Efforts With ‘Finance of America University’

Finance of America Reverse (FAR) announced Monday the development of a new reverse mortgage education platform, which is designed to equip the company’s wholesale partners with a wide selection of relevant, customizable educational resources and materials that can expand product knowledge and provide better potential service to clients. The new platform, dubbed “Finance of America University” (FAU), launches alongside additional new offerings including the introduction of an enhanced “Policies and Procedures” (P&P) Documents Center on its “Xcelerate” Wholesale Portal.

The platform, which is immediately available to the company’s partners, were designed by FAR’s Learning and Development Division and aims to better educate partners about the growing portfolio of reverse mortgage products and retirement solutions scenarios that FAR offers across its business.

These include traditional Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as proprietary reverse mortgage products like the HomeSafe product suite as well as the new hybrid forward/reverse mortgage product EquityAvail.

FAR’s new, preferred learning management system

The growing number of products offered by FAR necessitates a more streamlined approach to education when it comes to the company’s partners, and FAU has been designed with several “tracks” of content designed to cater to several pre-established reverse mortgage experience levels. These include partners who may have worked on the forward side and are just now getting into reverse mortgages; those who are looking to better develop their HECM for Purchase (H4P) program business; overviews of FAR’s various proprietary products and more.

“We are building a multifaceted business that seamlessly integrates innovative proprietary products with dynamic educational resources and superior customer service all stitched together with technology to help simplify processes and elevate both the partner and borrower experience,” said Kristen Sieffert, president of FAR. “Today’s announcement reaffirms our commitment to our wholesale partners —providing a white-glove, concierge service that meets and raises the industry standard across every conceivable metric.”

FAR President Kristen Sieffert

Additionally, the new P&P documents center that has been added to the Xcelerate wholesale portal is designed to give stakeholders an easier way to find necessary information related to the documents which can be critical to parts of the reverse mortgage process. Thousands of informational documents, underwriting guidelines and templates, product descriptions, and critical job aids are all accessible via menu or keyword searches on the platform’s new landing page.

Key documents once hard to track down now reside in one navigable gallery, with the company hoping that this can contribute to shaving down delays and confusion for FAR’s partners that can sometimes accompany the effort to navigate through such materials in conventional ways.

“Offerings like FAU and our enhanced Xcelerate platform demonstrate our unparalleled dedication to arm reverse mortgage professionals with tools that help them succeed, reduce friction in the process, and close the gap on the time-consuming aspects of originating a reverse mortgage—all while making it faster and easier to work with us,” Sieffert added.

Aims of new FAU initiative, course availability

The educational materials that will be available through FAU were designed by FAR’s Learning and Development team, reverse mortgage professionals who aim to determine the most important questions that partners may have in building out a reverse mortgage business. Additionally, educational programs will be available to real estate professionals across 19 states that will provide continuing education (CE) credits through both virtual and in-person instruction formats, and programs for certified financial planners will be available nationwide.

Courses for reverse mortgage professionals working toward attaining the status of Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) — the designation offered by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) — will also be available. Personalized classes in virtual and in-person formats can also be taken.

75 of FAR’s training modules have been redesigned, and wholesale partners will have the ability to curate their coursework from these modules through specific aforementioned tracks designed for different skill and experience levels in the reverse mortgage business, as well as information on the proprietary product suite from FAR including HomeSafe and EquityAvail loans.

FAR currently offers 11 classes that have been vetted by the Independent Certification Committee and approved for CRMP credits, according to NRMLA’s approved online course list. While none of the courses that FAR offers will be new, making them available in this way and through the FAU platform will conceivably assist the company with making the courses more widely available to its partners.

“Whether a FAR partner is a beginner in the retirement industry, or a veteran looking to take a deeper dive with their grassroots marketing skills, both of these enhancements will enable them to easily scale and tailor their learnings,” said FAR’s Chief Development Officer Sherry Apanay in an announcement of FAU. “Together, Finance of America University and our new P&P Documents Center will strengthen the communication and the close-knit relationships between FAR and its wholesale partners that have set us apart from the beginning. These platforms take that distinctiveness to a whole new level.”

According to HECM endorsement volume data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), FAR is the third-largest lender in the reverse mortgage industry, recording 4,663 endorsements in the 12-month period ending July 31. Recently, FAR parent company Finance of America announced its Q2 2021 earnings, highlighting the high level of performance from the reverse mortgage segment in the wake of reduced earnings in its traditional mortgage businesses. Other companies which operate in both the forward and reverse mortgage markets behaved similarly when Q2 earnings were reported.

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