University Bank adds four reverse mortgage veterans to its HECM division

Key Takeaways:

– University Bank’s reverse mortgage division has added four new hires in different roles to support its growth in the reverse mortgage space.
– The new hires include loan officers Jake Droge and Sue Haviland, account executive Carol Olmos, and area manager Michael Weltman.
– Haviland and Droge have certifications from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) and Haviland also has the certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) designation.
– The reverse mortgage industry has been struggling, with reduced volume and many mortgage companies exiting the space.
– University Bank’s commitment to reverse mortgages has remained strong, and they are continuing to expand and hire new employees.
– The bank’s longstanding presence in the industry and diverse range of services help it weather challenges.
– University Bank is being selective in its hiring process and values the core values and experience of applicants.
– Michael Weltman’s placement as the southeastern regional manager is strategic, as the bank aims to identify regions with potential for reverse mortgage growth.
– The bank is also focusing on internal education and collaboration to inform more team members about reverse mortgages and their benefits for senior clients.

HousingWire:

University Bank’s reverse mortgage division has added four key hires across different disciplines as it prepares to grow further in the reverse mortgage space.

Jake Droge joins the company as a loan officer, while Carol Olmos has joined the company as an account executive. Both Droge and Olmos come to University Bank from Open Mortgage, which shuttered its own top 10 reverse mortgage lending division late last year.

Sue Haviland has also joined the division as a loan officer, coming off of a roughly three-year stint as Finance of America Reverse (FAR)’s national sales trainer in learning and development. Michael Weltman has also joined the division as an area manager, coming to the company from One Trust Mortgage.

Certifications, reverse posture

Haviland and Droge have certified reverse mortgage professional (CRMP) designations from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). Haviland also maintains the certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) designation, is an active member of the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) and has served as a reverse mortgage speaker at industry events.

Weltman also maintains the CAPS designation, in addition to being a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), and also serves with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Doug Ziegler

To get a better understanding of what the company’s reverse mortgage goals are, RMD sat down with Doug Ziegler, national sales manager at the company’s reverse mortgage lending division. When asked about those plans, Ziegler — who joined the organization roughly five months ago — said he was initially attracted to it because of the stated commitment to the reverse mortgage product.

However, the industry itself is in a period of challenge, which is not lost on either him or the executive leaders at the company.

“Obviously, it’s no secret that the reverse industry as a whole has been struggling over the past year,” he said in an interview. “Production across the board has been down for all vendors for the most part, and we’re seeing a lot of mortgage companies exit the reverse mortgage space or shrinking their divisions with a lot of layoffs.”

The approach taken by University Bank has been “refreshing,” Ziegler said, because the commitment to reverse has not wavered.

“We’ve hired four new people in the month of December, but we’re not done,” he said. “We’re looking to continue expanding. With the addition of Michael Weltman, he’s one of our area managers in the southeast, and one of his main responsibilities is to continue on recruiting efforts and growing the division.”

Keeping business moving

The reverse mortgage business has faced headwinds including reduced volume, high interest rates, lender exits and consolidations. When asked what has kept the organization engaged and ready to weather such problems, Ziegler credited the longstanding nature of the institution and commitment to the space.

“University Bank has been around for 130-plus years,” he said. “That’s encouraging to know. It is a bank that has been established for a long time, and is very diverse. Obviously we have a forward lending division, we have the reverse mortgage lending division and a commercial panel, as well as an insurance company. There are many different aspects of University Bank, and I think that diversity is what helps the bank collectively stay afloat in these tough markets.”

Additional hiring will also play into the strategy, he said.

“We’re in growth mode,” Ziegler said. “We’re hoping this is just the beginning of our recruiting efforts. We are being very selective with the people we onboard, but we are looking to continue growing.”

That selectivity extends to assessing the core values of applicants, but also understanding the value that longtime players can bring to the bank’s reverse mortgage division overall, he explained. That stands as “a testament” to their dedication to the product category.

The recent exits and consolidations also help to bolster the available talent pool, and Ziegler described the amenability the bank has to picking up former employees at exited lenders like Open Mortgage.

A regional strategy

Weltman’s hiring as the southeastern regional manager is a strategic placement. University Bank will identify parts of the country that are poised for reverse mortgage growth.

“We have a pretty strong presence in the Florida market with our University Lending Group (ULG) [forward mortgage] team, and one of Michael’s objectives is to network and work internally with them to create an internal referral structure as well,” Ziegler said.

That also extends to internal educational development to inform more people at the bank about reverse mortgages, he said.

“In this particular instance, working with the ULG team to create the internal synergies, we’re also working with our insurance and commercial divisions for opportunities to educate our fellow team members across the bank, so that they’re aware of reverse mortgages and their potential benefits for senior clients,” Ziegler added.

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Property Chomp’s Take:

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University Bank’s reverse mortgage division has recently made four key hires across different disciplines, signaling its intention to further expand in the reverse mortgage space. Jake Droge and Carol Olmos have both joined the company as loan officers, having previously worked at Open Mortgage. Sue Haviland, a former national sales trainer at Finance of America Reverse, and Michael Weltman, previously with One Trust Mortgage, have also joined the division.

Haviland and Droge both hold certifications from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), with Haviland also maintaining the certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) designation and actively participating in the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC). Weltman holds the CAPS designation, as well as being a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), and is involved with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

In an interview with Doug Ziegler, the national sales manager at University Bank’s reverse mortgage lending division, he emphasized the company’s commitment to the reverse mortgage product. Despite the challenges faced by the industry in recent times, Ziegler expressed his optimism and highlighted the bank’s intention to continue expanding its reverse mortgage division.

Ziegler mentioned that University Bank has been able to weather the storm due to its long-standing presence in the industry and the diversity of its business operations. The bank has a forward lending division, a reverse mortgage lending division, a commercial panel, and an insurance company. Ziegler also mentioned that the recent exits and consolidations in the industry have created opportunities to pick up talented individuals from other lenders.

As part of its growth strategy, University Bank has hired Michael Weltman as the southeastern regional manager. This strategic placement allows the bank to identify regions with potential for reverse mortgage growth and leverage its existing presence in the Florida market. Ziegler also mentioned the bank’s internal efforts to educate its team members about reverse mortgages and their benefits for senior clients.

Overall, University Bank’s reverse mortgage division is poised for growth and is committed to providing quality reverse mortgage products and services. With its recent hires and strategic initiatives, the division is well-positioned to navigate the challenges of the industry and make a positive impact in the reverse mortgage space.

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