Persistent phone prospecting for reverse mortgages by a Michigan originator paid off in a big way for an elderly Texas woman. While he didn't make a sale -- he did help save her life.
Which is what he did.
Matt Pitters, who works as a reverse mortgage loan officer in the Michigan call center for World Alliance Financial Corp., had already made some 30 calls that morning to people who had requested and received the company's free DVD on home equity conversion mortgages.
The DVD is promoted in a television commercial for Melville, N.Y.-based World Alliance, which says it is the nation's third largest reverse mortgage lender.
"They're told when they get the DVD that we'll follow up with a phone call," he explained in an interview with MortgageDaily.com. "The DVD has a lot of good information, the basics, but it can't be specific because everyone's situation is unique. So loan officers just like myself give a call to make sure there are no questions."
That is exactly what Pitters was doing when he first called Flora Bartley in Texas.
But on his first attempt, he said that he heard some mumbling before she hung up."Getting hung up on is not that uncommon," Pitters admitted. "Sometimes it is an accident, especially for seniors that rush to get the phone, try to pick it up and it slips out of their hands. So it's pretty common for me to call right back just to make sure it wasn't an intentional hang-up."
photo of Matthew Pitters
But Pitters didn't get a typical response.
"She was disoriented and struggling to answer questions," he said. "I asked her what was wrong. At that point she mentioned she was shaking and asked for help. I thought that maybe she was having a stroke. It was definitely something that she needed emergency help for."
Pitters called 911 in Michigan and they contacted emergency services in Texas.
"I was able to get her the necessary emergency people to take care of her. They did an awesome job," he explained. "I was calling from Michigan, where our call center is, for a woman that lives in Texas. That had to be confusing for them, but they handled it real well."
Bartley spent some time in the hospital, Pitters reported, but was able to come back home.
"We've spoken several times since the incident and she's doing better," he said. "I think she's back in the hospital right now but she's expected to come out."
Pitters continues to call as many as a hundred seniors every day for the company formerly known as Vertical Lend, discussing reverse mortgages with them. But that's a topic he has yet to discuss with Bartley.
"She said she was interested in a reverse mortgage but it's just not a good time to go into it," he said. "I've put that conversation on hold until she starts feeling better. Then we'll probably look into a reverse mortgage for her."
But although those initial calls to her didn't result in their intent, a discussion of reverse mortgages and how they might help her, just his calls alone helped her, Pitters admitted.
"I'm glad that I was there," he said.