Reverse Mortgage Originators Look to Emulate Lenders’ TV, Radio Success

by Maggie Callahan

Big-name pitchmen like Tom Selleck and Henry Winkler have graced reverse mortgage ads for large national lenders for years, but local originators also have also found their own paths to success using TV, radio, and the internet.

Michael Banner, the president of Professional Mortgage Alliance LLC in Clearwater, Fla., is no stranger to using media to extol the virtues of reverse mortgages. During the past six years he’s appeared on Fox News and local CBS and ABC stations. He’s also been a regular on radio shows, fighting the negative public perception associated with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

“You don’t get over your bad reputation by running away,” he said. 

His most recent media venture is his own internet television show, “62WhoKnew,” which he started a few months ago on WeBeam TV, an independent internet station. 

Covering a variety of topics that pertain to baby boomers, like Social Security, medical advancements, and elder law, he wanted to make sure the show did not seem like a reverse mortgage sales pitch. 

“I purposely did not talk about reverse mortgages for months,” he said. “I waited eight weeks before I did a reverse mortgage show.”

Within in the show, Banner does one 30-second commercial spot for himself. 

“I can’t say it’s getting me a ton of business yet, but it is getting views,” he said.

In the Chicago market, David Hochberg, vice president of mortgage lending on Team Hochberg at PERL Mortgage, has ads on seven local radio stations, as well as the number one-rated real estate show in the city – “Home Sweet Home Chicago” on WLS-AM 890 on Saturday mornings.

His radio relationship began about 15 years ago after he secured a loan for the “sidekick” on a Chicago afternoon radio show.

“He said, ‘You’ll never get me a loan.’ I said, ‘If I get you a loan, you’ll put me on the radio,’” Hochberg said.

Needless to say, he was the guest on the show not long after, and radio has been a lead-generator for him ever since. 

“It still makes the phone ring,” he said. “It still gets leads. You can’t help everybody, but everybody gets a call back and good service.”

Using a variety of personal reverse mortgage success stories, Hochberg changes his content frequently to keep the ads fresh, and he invests a “considerable amount” of money to do so. If he hadn’t seen results, he would not have continued to do it.

“Some people do internet, mailers, or TV, and I found the recipe for success in radio advertising,” he said.

Of course, as the average senior becomes savvier with social media, internet advertising represents an ongoing frontier for reverse mortgage professionals.

Tim Linger, broker and owner of HECM Senior Home Financing in Orlando, Fla., has produced short YouTube videos explaining how HECMs work and dispelling common myths about them. He said the videos have “worked really well” for him, and he wishes that he had more available.

“I do believe the future is videos or GIFs,” Linger said. “I think that’s the best way to market. I’m a big fan of 10-second, 30-second, or even one-minute videos on anything. I just think that people watch them and it’s a fantastic way of doing it.”