Jeff Foody of Northwest Reverse Mortgage LLC (NMLS#: 253303/NMLS#: 1834787) has been serving the reverse mortgage industry since 2002, a time when it was a relatively obscure concept. Since then, the industry has evolved to where reverse mortgages are widely understood and often used by thousands of homeowners who are 62 and older. Jeff has been called one of the countries foremost expert's on reverse mortgages and frequently presents the benefits to large audiences. As of 2019, he is the proud owner of his own reverse mortgage brokerage, Northwest Reverse Mortgage. His belief in the advantages of reverse mortgages is so strong that even his parents are happily enjoying one of their own.
Tell our readers a bit about yourself.
Jeff Foody: I have been serving the reverse mortgage industry since 2002, a time when it was a relatively obscure concept. Since then, the industry has evolved to where reverse mortgages are widely understood and are often used by thousands of homeowners who 62 and older. I have been called one of the country’s foremost experts on reverse mortgages, and frequently present the benefits of the reverse mortgage to large audiences. As of 2019, I am the proud owner of my own reverse mortgage brokerage, Northwest Reverse Mortgage in Clackamas, Ore. My belief in the advantages of reverse mortgages is so strong that even my parents are happily enjoying one of their own.
I understand you are a mortgage broker now after previously working as a mortgage banker. What motivated you to make the change?
Jeff Foody: As I am sure, most bankers eventually wake up one day and notice, we were paying a premium for services we did not require. We were working for a traditional mortgage lender that did not understand—nor were capable of—offering us any level of support for our specialized area of production. We were constrained to trying to fit into a mold of traditional mortgage banking that did not offer us any level of control over our business. Being a broker, we are able stop wasting time, energy, effort and money in an unproductive environment.
What would you say so far are the biggest differences you’ve experienced coming from the retail side?
Jeff Foody: Control. There is a great deal of freedom in being able to decide when and how resources are being deployed in the most productive areas. We have so many more options now. Having more options means we can better cater to our client’s needs.
How would you compare pricing when compared to the mortgage banker world?
Jeff Foody: I was under the impression, as I am sure many mortgage bankers are, that being a part of larger lender was somehow financially beneficial to us and to our clients. Something about bulk production allowing for better pricing, but I could not have been more wrong. I was shocked at how infinitesimal the pricing difference was that was in no way worth the amount of money I was giving up to the retail mortgage lender. I was shocked. Knowing what I know now, I cannot imagine doing it any other way. I only wish I had done it sooner and wish all mortgage bankers knew the benefits of brokering.
What are you seeing in your local market in terms of trends, inventory and consumer/real estate agent mortgage education?
Jeff Foody: Reverse mortgages are still a relatively obscure concept for a lot of folks, there is a great deal of misinformation. Our goal is to educate people about this product, not just the consumer, but their network of professional advisors. We try to educate financial advisors on how to use a reverse mortgage to fund their client’s retirement planning. We are seeing more seniors who are unprepared or underprepared for retirement.
From a real estate agent education perspective, we think it is vital that they learn about this program so they can be able to provide options for their clients. More seniors want to downsize, but aren’t aware they could buy a new home with a reverse mortgage and not have a monthly mortgage payment.
The educational opportunities to learn about reverse mortgages are slim. We are always looking for new ways to educate more people. It is our mission to get the word out about this loan option. We offer CE classes to real estate agents on how to use the reverse product to increase a borrower’s buying power or to pick up more listings. We have videos and a blog on our Web site (NWReverse.com) that help explain some of the “ins and outs” and provide educational seminars to explain how this loan works.
I know the myth of losing control as a mortgage broker is finally being exposed to the market and quite the opposite. What are your experiences on controlling the process?
Jeff Foody: Being a mortgage broker has been liberating. We were under the impression, as a banker, that being a mortgage broker was risky and unpredictable. That has not been the case. We have been able to control a lot more of our business, down to the vendors we choose and the timelines we follow. Our weekly schedules are now dictated by us and our needs. Everyone I talk to who works as a mortgage banker. I can’t help but try and convince them of the error of their ways. I just keep thinking, “If you only knew!?”
What would you say are your best forms of marketing today to generate new business?
Jeff Foody: Because we are so specialized and very few people do what we do, the vast majority of our business comes from referral partners. We have long established ourselves as THE local expert, so we get a lot of referral business from credit unions and banks, as well as other mortgage bankers and brokers. But since we also focus on dispelling the misinformation about reverse mortgages to Oregonians everywhere, we also do mailers, newspaper articles, TV and radio commercials, and just generally being active in our communities.
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and past president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431, e-mail AHarris@VantageMortgageGroup.com or visit VantageMortgageGroup.com.