The reverse mortgage division of Mutual of Omaha Mortgage has added over a dozen former employees from bankrupt lender Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF) to its ranks, giving the staffers a landing spot after that lender’s exit from the industry.
The company announced the hiring on Tuesday, with most landing at the lender’s wholesale reverse mortgage business. According to recent data, Mutual of Omaha is the seventh-largest wholesale reverse mortgage lender, with 834 wholesale loans in the prior 12 months and 4,900 retail originations.
New roles for RMF employees
Mark O’Neil was named Mutual of Omaha’s SVP of wholesale after spending nine years at RMF. O’Neil started as a regional account manager at RMF in 2013 and had been serving as its national wholesale and correspondent sales leader prior to RMF filing for bankruptcy.
Mutual of Omaha also hired nine account executives from RMF, including Laura Bihuniak, Brian Boccia, John Burich, Dylan Cohen, Brandy Edwards, Daniel Gleadle, Peter Kulis, Anissa Palmatier and Jaimee Scott.
Jaime Girard also joined the company from RMF, where she served as relationship manager leader. She now serves as Mutual of Omaha’s partner support leader, and brought with her five partner support specialists from RMF.
“The team and I were looking for a new home with an established wholesale team where we could continue to grow and provide great service to our clients. It did not take long to recognize that Mutual of Omaha Mortgage has all the resources we could ask for,” O’Neil said in a statement.
In total, 16 employees with a wholesale specialty made the transition from RMF to Mutual of Omaha.
A commitment to reverse mortgages
O’Neil said in a statement that the hirings help Mutual of Omaha to demonstrate its commitment to the reverse mortgage space.
“This is a well-run organization with a veteran support staff, sales-friendly culture and the most recognizable brand in our industry,” he said. “And I think the fact that Mutual of Omaha Mortgage brought all of us on speaks volumes about their commitment to growing this business.”
“At Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, we believe strongly in the reverse mortgage product and the solutions it provides, so we are investing for the future,” Alex Pistone, reverse mortgage president at Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, said.
“We’re proud to be a subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha, a highly-rated company with more than 100 years of stability and service. We have the strength and resources to invest in growth and this opportunity to add incredible talent and experience to our wholesale division fits perfectly with our long-term strategy.”
When contacted by RMD, representatives of Mutual of Omaha Mortgage declined to comment further.
RMF’s exit from the reverse mortgage industry displaced approximately 500 employees initially. Additional layoffs have occurred as the company navigated the bankruptcy process. Other reverse mortgage lenders, including HighTechLending and Open Mortgage, have picked up some former RMF employees.
HighTechLending President Don Currie told RMD earlier this month that while the loss of RMF represents a blow to the reverse mortgage industry, several companies will benefit from the increase in the talent pool.
Other companies have also demonstrated commitment to expanding their reverse mortgage divisions in spite of reduced market activity. Open Mortgage President Scott Gordon told RMD in November that it had planned to triple its reverse mortgage division staff by the end of 2022.
“The good news is that since the beginning of the year, by the end of Q3 we had doubled the size of our retail reverse teams,” Gordon said. “And with the people coming over now, we should easily have tripled by the end of the year. That is part of my sunny outlook for Q2 2023. We know it takes people a while to get going, and in reverse, it’s hard right now, as is traditional. But we also know we have great turn times and the team has been building, so that’s pretty good.”
According to retail origination data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Mutual of Omaha Mortgage surpassed three competitors to become the second-largest retail reverse mortgage lender in the country for the 2022 calendar year, recording 5,776 retail endorsements during that period.