Kristen Sieffert leads the reverse mortgage presence at The Gathering

Finance of America’s president discussed her company’s integration of AAG, retirement stressors and potential growth for the reverse mortgage product

Kristen Sieffert, president of Finance of America Reverse, speaks during The Gathering
by HousingWire on Monday, April 21, 2024. Photo credit: AJ Canaria

Reverse mortgages became an unexpectedly prominent topic during certain parts of The Gathering by HousingWire, held earlier this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. The reverse lending industry’s most prominent attendee — Kristen Sieffert of Finance of America Companies (FOA), parent company of industry-leading lender Finance of America Reverse (FAR) — offered insights into various topics about the reverse mortgage product category.

Among these topics, Sieffert addressed the recent acquisition of former leading industry lender American Advisors Group (AAG) and its integration into FOA. She also spoke about the unique stressors faced by seniors in retirement, the different applications of a reverse mortgage’s proceeds, and the reverse industry’s ongoing efforts to get in front of more potential clients and adjacent companies in the mortgage and real estate spaces.

Following the company’s initial public offering (IPO) and its choice to focus exclusively on retirement solutions, FOA’s acquisition of AAG was a natural way to stake a major claim of leadership in the business.

The acquisition has created opportunities for Sieffert in her new leadership position, having been elevated to the role of FOA president shortly after the acquisition of AAG was finalized.

“We believe there’s a significant opportunity to bring home equity for retirement into the mainstream,” she said.

Challenges associated with retirement help emphasize the importance of having a more mainstream conversation, since those living on fixed incomes find themselves worrying about costs of living stemming from inflation, longevity planning and unexpected health care costs, she said.

It’s becoming more important to emphasize that health care costs can often arise unexpectedly, she explained, and having a plan to deal with them can be critical to maintaining quality of life in retirement.

Reverse mortgages for purchase are taking up more conversation on the reverse side of the business recently. Sieffert explained how FOA and FAR see an opportunity there, particularly when it comes to bringing aboard partners from the real estate industry.

“Obviously, it’s hard to move right now, but people do have a lot of equity,” she said. “So, if you can afford to put maybe a 50% to 70% down payment on a home, but you still can’t afford the mortgage payment because of interest rates, you could use a reverse for purchase so that you don’t have a payment on that gap.”

Sieffert also suggested bringing more financial planners up to speed on the product mechanics. They could potentially advise their senior clients about the use of a reverse mortgage to protect against sequence-of-returns risk, where a reverse mortgage line of credit is tapped in times of market volatility until an investment portfolio stabilizes.

The acquisition of AAG also presents a unique marketing opportunity for FAR to make use of a ubiquitous spokesperson. Tom Selleck, as well as the development of additional products in the space to meet the growing needs of the senior demographic.

But by introducing the reverse mortgage product concept to more professionals in the forward mortgage and real estate spaces, Sieffert hopes that additional technology tools can be developed to further enhance the business- and consumer-facing sides of the industry.

Sieffert previously shared that FOA has a “word of the year,” and for 2020, that word was “resilience.” This year, while many are saying “survive until 2025,” she aimed to choose a different word for her team.

“This year, it’s ‘prevail,’” she said. “And really, the idea is we understand that the team feels in some ways like we’re in this battle. It feels hard, but we do feel confident that we will win, ultimately, and we’ll do that by providing the best value to everybody that we serve.”


  1. Based on HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, the only reverse mortgage products insured by FHA) data provided by Reverse Market Insight, Inc., the HECM market has seen its worst six month start to a fiscal year in 21 years with just 13,225 total HECM endorsements.

    Through its retail and wholesale divisions, FAR, the HECM endorsement leader in the industry, had 3,326 HECM endorsements in that six month period, while Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, Inc. came in second with 3,026 HECM endorsements. These two Ginnie Mae issuers generated 48% of the total HECMs endorsed in those six months.

    While the two dominated the market, this fiscal year is a big disappointment so far and as of now the total HECM market will most likely produce only about 5,900 HECM endorsements in the third fiscal quarter, ending June 30, 2024, based on HECM endorsement estimates for that quarter. Many in the industry are expecting the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024 to be the worst fiscal year for HECM endorsements since September 30, 2003.

  2. I see so many Seniors having their futures derailed by well meaning but grossly uninformed advisors. They all want to age in place, downsizing to a more manageable property with an rm purchase and saving cash is such a great and obvious solution….period.
    As a Realtor I will say the HECM industry could do a better job of promoting the product with integrity instead of silly paid actor testimonials. It insults their intelligence.

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