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Reverse Lender Adding Branches, Originators

Fidelity Reverse Mortgage hiring up to 70 LOs this year

April 24, 2008


A Colorado company is looking to hire as many as 70 new originators in a national expansion as it opens new branches and heads toward a top-10 reverse mortgage lender ranking this year.

Fidelity Reverse Mortgage plans to hire the additional loan officers, or mortgage associates as it calls them, by the end of this year, Executive Vice President John Neumeier told MortgageDaily.com.

"Fidelity will hire eight to 10 new associates per month and will increase loan volume by 12 to 25 additional loans per month," he said. "We're aggressively recruiting experienced individuals and production teams to join the company."

As required by state laws, the Denver-based company has brick-and-mortar offices in seven of the 16 states it is licensed in, he explained. In the other states, associates generally work from home offices. Licenses are currently pending in six other states, and new branch offices may be added in Arizona, northern California and possibly Florida.

The new licenses would add Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming to the states where it is now licensed -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia and Washington.

photo of John Neumeier
photo of John Neumeier

Neumeier declined to give current production figures but said that originations had increased 300 percent from the start of 2007 to the end of March 2008.

"We are planning to enter the top 10 reverse mortgage lenders in the country by late 2008 or early 2009," he said, a goal that, he admitted, would require the origination of more than 100 reverse mortgages a month.

"We offer all the major lenders' reverse mortgage products as well as HECMs," he explained. "We typically allow our producers to have access to all of the major lenders' products and services.

"But we don't do much with Financial Freedom any more because their service times are too slow."

Fidelity, a division of Fidelity First Mortgage Co., was established in October 2005 and hired its first associate and closed its first loan the following March, according to Neumeier.

"We have a very good compensation structure, not only paying higher starting commissions but also additional percentages for retention as well as quarterly production bonuses, and that has been drawing a lot of people to us," he said. "And our company will put in five percent of their commissions into a business enhancement account for marketing. Nobody else provides that kind of support financially.

"We help them build their business plans, help get them trained and up to speed, help them monitor their activity and help them to focus on certain market segments. We're very deliberate on training. So we're very hands on as a company culture."

To help speed loan underwriting, closings and fundings, Fidelity completes all the loan application paperwork for sales associates from its corporate office, Neumeier pointed out.

Fidelity, on its Web site, boasts 24- to 48-hour underwriting and average application-to-funding of 25 to 31 days.

The company's headquarters staff also calls all sales associates twice a month to discuss what went well and what went poorly since the last conversation and what they may need help with, Neumeier said. And, for new associates who are inexperienced with reverse mortgages, Fidelity provides formalized in-person training at its corporate office as well as on-line training.

"Our people are our most important asset and are more than capable of increasing the visibility and production of our company," he said. "So as a company we're really focused on helping them produce.

"The need for the reverse mortgage product and service is substantial," he concluded. "Yet the industry doesn't even have a one percent penetration of the potential market. So there's not going to be anything but tremendous opportunity for people to enter this business."

Jerry DeMuth is an award winning journalist who has been reporting for four decades.

e-mail Jerry at [email protected]

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