Open Mortgage doubles down on reverse with new directors and expansion goals

The company attributes the new moves to the division’s high performance in 2021, and plans to double existing staff levels in the months ahead

Austin, Tex.-based multi-channel lender Open Mortgage announced on Wednesday that it is doubling down on reverse mortgages.

The company has appointed reverse mortgage industry veteran Charith Rodrigo as one of two new national directors of reverse sales, the other being longtime Open Mortgage reverse professional Patty Wills.

A company spokesperson confirmed for RMD that it is planning on doubling the existing reverse mortgage staff, with an “emphasis on expanding the retail division’s footprint by adding and supporting new branches and loan originators,” the company said in a statement.

Charith Rodrigo, national director of reverse mortgage sales at Open Mortgage.
Charith Rodrigo

Rodrigo and Wills will help to oversee the expansion of the company’s reverse mortgage division together, monitoring sales targets, overseeing the performance objectives of the national reverse mortgage sales department and strategizing business opportunities to increase the division’s profitability.

They are also described as being “instrumental” in the acquisition, training and development of new talent as they work to expand the existing reverse mortgage department.

“Reverse mortgages have always been a cornerstone product offering at Open Mortgage, and with the current housing market, further capitalizing on this growing segment will ensure the company continues its momentum of success,” said Scott Harkless, chief revenue officer at Open Mortgage in a statement. “Rodrigo’s impressive leadership background in transforming banking and mortgage industry operations will be crucial as we double our reverse mortgage personnel and continue to expand into new markets.”

Open Mortgage reverse mortgage director Patty Wills.
Patty Wills

Prior to joining Open Mortgage, Rodrigo served for nearly five years at American Advisors Group (AAG) first as a sales coach, and then as a production support director. Prior to AAG, he served at the company now known as Liberty Reverse Mortgage as a sales manager for over three years.

Before her promotion to the director position, Wills most recently served as Open Mortgage’s reverse mortgage sales development manager, and has served on the Board of Directors for the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). Her reverse mortgage career goes back to the early 1990s and has included roles at Financial Freedom, Bank of America and her own company, Retirement Life Funding, LLC.

Open Mortgage CEO Scott Gordon was selected as a member of RMD’s “Changemakers” class of 2021. The company also appointed Joe Stephenson as its president at the end of last year, and Stephenson related optimism about the reverse mortgage space soon afterward.

“I definitely expect Open Mortgage to continue to expand its footprint in the mortgage space for both reverse and forward,” Stephenson told RMD in January. “With over 100 branches nationwide, the opportunity exists to grow both.”

The following month, the company added Scott Harkless to the newly-created position of chief revenue officer. In April, they appointed Andrea Easter to be the company’s first chief compliance officer.

According to Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Open Mortgage is the seventh-largest reverse mortgage lender in the country with 2,329 loans over the 12-month period ending in April, 2022.

Look for more on RMD soon about Open Mortgage’s reverse mortgage expansion.

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