The Federal Savings Bank: "HECM origination is an outdoor sport"

Mortgage & Real Estate

The Federal Savings Bank has been originating reverse mortgage loans for about 20 years with a team of HECM-focused loan officers working across the country.

But like other lenders in the reverse space, the federally chartered bank has felt the effects of major HECM program changes that have caused industry volume to plummet.

Bob Tranchell, senior vice president of the bank’s HECM division, said the current climate forced the bank to double down on its commitment to build referral networks.

“We had to walk away from client-centric outreach; we had to have referral-based outreach,” Tranchell said. “The financial planners, the Realtors, the estate attorneys, the people who are dealing with seniors all the time – we have to educate them so when they see something, they come to us.”

“I think that’s really the only way to overcome whatever changes there are going to be,” Tranchell added. “We have to change to match it.”

To aid in this effort, Trancell said the bank provides its LOs with the tools and coaching they need to connect with other professionals about the product.

With the start of 2019, the bank is adopting a new CRM that has been specifically designed to facilitate the HECM origination process.

Michael Crossett, executive vice president at The Federal Savings Bank, said the new CRM will be crucial to helping LOs build referral networks.

“With a significant focus on supporting referral partners, our bankers will have a myriad of tools at their disposal to add more value,” Crossett said. “It will also help them be more efficient with their time and follow up with prospective clients.”

Crossett said his team works closely with LOs to help them learn to connect with other professionals.

“Our mission is to help our bankers have focused, meaningful conversations with referral sources on the application of the HECM program,” he said. “In understanding how the HECM applies, referral partners more rapidly accept the HECM as a solid financial planning tool and feel comfortable referring from the first meeting.”

Tranchell agreed that coaching is necessary to master this skill.

“We have to give them the language and give them the scripting so that when they get to that financial planner or the Realtor, they can make the most of that opportunity,” Tranchell said.

To get through to a referral partner, Tranchell said it’s crucial that LOs learn to modify their language and focus on how they can help the contact build their business.

“As an industry, we’re used to talking about the HECM and we get stuck talking about the HECM, and what I am trying to do is to teach our guys not talk so much about the inner workings of the HECM, but to focus more broadly on ‘how can I help your business and your client,’” he said.

“We have a scaled-down presentation, so if you only have 20 minutes, here’s the skinny version,” he said. “The idea behind the skinny version is you wet their whistle enough to get them to put you in front of their whole team for an hour, and that’s where you really have an impact.”

“I think in general, we’ve gotten used to being in-house making calls, and I’m trying to get my guys out in front of people to build the relationships and network they need to succeed,” he said. “HECM origination is an outdoor sport.”

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