Reverse mortgage trade association elects new board, honors longtime member

An eventful NRMLA Annual Meeting and Expo was capped off by the executive committee’s assessment of the business climate, while George Downey earned a distinguished service award

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) Annual Meeting and Expo concluded on Thursday, and capping off an eventful program was a business meeting that elected the board of directors for the 2023 term.

The assembled members of the executive committee including NRMLA President Steve Irwin, CEO Peter Bell, co-chairs Mike Kent and Scott Norman as well as Joe DeMarkey discussed the state of the industry, the recently-concluded conference as well as recognizing a longtime reverse mortgage industry professional and advocate in George Downey of Harbor Mortgage Solutions in Braintree, Mass.

Co-chair Scott Norman told the reverse mortgage professionals they should engage with the trade association, including through direct participation, saying that the current business climate provides a chance for any professional to make themselves heard on important industry matters.

The sentiment was echoed by Kent, who added that the association has a number of policy proposals and program observations to share with leadership at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). DeMarkey spoke about the scope of the association and that while the staff is relatively small, there is also a uniform commitment to the broader industry that is shared by everyone in the organization.

Chris Downey accepted the award on George’s behalf at the event. (Photo by Chris Clow)

After some of the business concluded, one notable absence from the list of 26 members was that of George Downey, who has been a consistent member and industry advocate since at least 2009. Downey was not in direct attendance, but the executive committee chose to recognize him with a distinguished service award presented to his son and colleague, Harbor Mortgage Solutions President Christopher Downey, who is serving on the Board in the new term.

“I want to thank the existing Board of directors and the nominating committee for considering me for this post,” he said. “I hope to continue to represent the NRMLA Board as well as it has been in the past by George and others.”

Downey also expressed a message from his father regarding the recognition he has received by earning the award, saying that a longtime partner has been critical to his and their company’s efforts.

“At George’s request, I wanted to make sure that Brett Kirkpatrick was recognized properly,” he said. “George was very concerned about this, and all of the legislative efforts that have been done, they acted as a team together. “Brett was absolutely instrumental in getting the legislative issues that we needed in front of the right people and with great success. So, again, thank you to the NRMLA Board and the nominating committee.”

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