FAR’s Paul Fiore on moving over from AAG, integrating two leading reverse mortgage companies

The chief retail sales officer at FAR moved over to the company after AAG was acquired, and is ready to keep moving the industry forward

Paul Fiore is a reverse mortgage industry leader who spent more than 14 years at its leading lender, American Advisors Group (AAG). After that company was acquired by Finance of America Companies (FOA), parent company of Finance of America Reverse (FAR), he has transitioned to the new organization and is ready to help continue serving the industry’s new top dog.

To get the lay of the land about his transition into the new company and how such an integration has played out, RMD sat down with Fiore to talk shop.

Chris Clow/RMD: I’m curious about your new role. You’re going to be head of retail and things are going to work a little bit differently than they did for you at AAG. What can you tell me about your role now?

Paul Fiore: I’m chief retail sales officer now at Finance of America Reverse, so I’m overseeing the entire retail arm, including call center-based salespeople, as well as the field channel. That differs a little bit from the AAG days. Although I was also chief sales officer there, we did bifurcate the retail channels a little bit. Whereas at FAR, I’ll oversee the entirety of retail.

Since I’ve come on board, my main responsibility has been integrating the two businesses because they did have an existing retail channel when we came on board. It was smaller than the AAG team, [so I’m] really integrating people into the ideal sales process, and [familiarizing them with] what kind of systems we’re going to operate in.

Clow: You spent more than 14 years at AAG. What has it been like to find yourself at a different company, but one that will continue to use that brand?

Fiore: It was definitely a new experience coming somewhere new, with new infrastructure. I knew a lot of the existing people from just years of being in the industry. I’ve known [FOA President] Kristen Sieffert for many, many years, as well as Jonathan Scarpati and others. Jonathan and I used to work together back in the old days at Senior Lending Network.

But still, when you spend 14 years in one place and you start somewhere new, it’s learning all about how everything works and functions. And we’re going to go for all these different things, which has really been a new experience for me.

Clow: Now that you’re under the umbrella of FAR and you’ve had the chance to see how the processes work there compared to how things have been for the last 14 years, have you seen ways to either improve certain processes or adopt things that may work better there than they did at AAG?

Fiore: Whenever you hear about integration, there’s always the challenge of bringing two companies together [that have distinct] cultures. What’s actually been really nice for us and what I’ve learned is when you bring these two companies together, you already had this big wholesale machine at Finance of America.

Paul Fiore, chief retail sales officer at Finance of America Reverse.
Paul Fiore

And then you bring in the call center business [that we had at AAG], and [finding ways of] putting those two things together [brings out] a lot of synergies. What I have found that I’m excited about is there are a lot of talented people that I have access to at Finance of America who are very creative in their thinking, like in product development.

Talking with the borrowers that reach out to us on a monthly basis, [we can identify] where there are gaps that you could potentially fill and help people where maybe the HECM product’s not serving those needs. [We also might be able to] be more creative with some of the proprietary products we have. I think that that’s been a really interesting and cool dynamic for me.

Clow: The proprietary business is very important for FAR, and AAG’s proprietary business was mostly from a partnership with FAR.

Fiore: Right. Although I had access to proprietary products at AAG, it was really FAR’s proprietary product, so we didn’t really have a hand in discussing what opportunities may exist in enhancing it or making it more accessible for people. That’s exciting.

The other thing that I’m excited about which we’re in the middle of right now is truly integrating into one system. Because we came over with AAG, we had our own [loan origination system (LOS)] and some of our own other systems, and so we’ve been functioning in two different systems since we’ve been here.

Although the companies have been combined, we’ve been functionally operating within two separate separate systems. Now, we’re going to be combining those, I think that’s going to give us added efficiencies that we have not had.

Clow: Are there other benefits that come with that beyond internal efficiency gains?

Fiore: Yes, definitely. While I look forward to the efficiency gains, we’ve partnered with many people — probably too many to name at this point — and I’ve learned about different processes and things that they do at FAR that I think will lead to better customer experiences, and more efficiently being able to streamline and close our loans.

And honestly, the thing that really blew me out of the water was when I had the opportunity to go on their President’s Club retreat when I first got here. Everyone talks about their culture and how great it is, and I certainly felt that way about AAG. But I had the opportunity to live it and breathe it while I was with everyone on this retreat. It gave me a moment to step back and think about what more we can do to drive that culture, because it permeates throughout this organization.

Look for more from Paul Fiore on RMD in the near future.

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