Finance of America Reverse LLC
has unveiled new brand positioning dedicated to helping people get to work on retirement. The new identity will be woven throughout FAR’s Web site, digital presence and sales and advertising materials. Beyond external efforts, FAR has also created a new internal Borrower Engagement team designed to align business practices with the organization’s refined purpose.
“About a year ago, we made a significant investment in consumer research to better understand how people across the country are approaching retirement and how strategic uses of home equity could play a role,” said Kristen Sieffert, President of Finance of America Reverse. “We learned that before anyone can consider using home equity–or any loan product–to fund retirement, they need to make a decision to be proactive about planning for retirement. That finding motivated us to not only continue building a comprehensive product suite, but also to identify what else we could do to break down barriers to achieving a fulfilling retirement and integrate that into our business.”
FAR conducted qualitative and quantitative research in 2017 with a representative sample of older American homeowners. Highlights include:
►Although housing wealth for homeowners 62 and older grew to $6.9 trillion in Q2 2018, only 11 percent of senior homeowners have positive feelings about reverse mortgages.
►Big conversations and decisions about retirement are often deferred until later or never, resulting in sub-optimal choices. Participants in research focus groups said they needed help seeing the benefit of earlier planning and that they wanted lenders to reframe the conversation around the long-term value of a reverse mortgage.
►Focus group participants articulated a complicated emotional state regarding retirement, feeling both in-pursuit and stuck, both insecure and bold. Many said the degree of control they feel they have over their retirement experience shapes their mindset, but worry there’s not much they can do at this point in their lives.
►More than one million households would consider a reverse mortgage, a potential addressable market of 10 times the actual serviced market for HECMs.
“At the heart of how we approached realigning our business practices to our purpose is a core belief that if people discover a way to break free from their paralysis and fear and distractions, they get a renewed energy for retirement and take action to improve their lives,” said Sieffert. “From there, we looked beyond just building a successful loan experience to what becoming the most beloved brand for people who are making retirement work actually looks like and how we can better connect borrowers with resources within the Finance of America family beyond reverse mortgages.”
FAR’s new Borrower Engagement team will be focused on identifying opportunities to create value for borrowers both before they choose a loan product as well as throughout the life of the loan. The team’s first initiatives include introducing kits for new and existing borrowers that offer education and resources beyond loan products.
In repositioning itself as a holistic retirement solutions provider, FAR also announced a strategic partnership with Silvernest, an online home sharing service that pairs aging homeowners with qualified housemates. The partnership features joint marketing initiatives including consumer events, digital and print publications, as well as optional discounted memberships to Silvernest’s matching platform. An initial mailing to FAR borrowers has already generated nearly 20 roommate matches.
“As we look at how more and more people want to age in place and how they’re thinking about the role their existing home will play in that process, we found a very natural partner in FAR,” said Wendi Burkhardt, Co-Founder and CEO of Silvernest. “Our organizations are much aligned in that we both want to break down barriers that prevent people from thriving in retirement–whether they are a lack of companionship, financial resources or other factors – and we’re very excited to be a partner to FAR in this effort.”