Origins: from education to local politics to reverse mortgages

In an ongoing quest to document the various paths industry professionals are taking in the reverse mortgage business, a general pattern becomes clear: there is no pattern.

The reverse mortgage industry is not a typical aspirational goal for many professionals, but many professionals who seemed to have started out in very different professions have at least one attribute in common centered around finding something that they really love serving the aged population through the reverse. category of mortgage products.

In our latest edition of ‘Origins’, RMD spoke with newly appointed Ennkar Wholesale Division Head Josh Moran to chart his course in the reverse mortgage industry.

Lots of hats

Looking back on his life before the reverse mortgage industry, Moran recounts a very different path he envisioned for himself, as well as a path that seemed different from that of his college peers.

“I went to a very prominent government and business college, Claremont McKenna,” he said. “There you go, I’m going to this school where I should have been going back and forth and getting an MBA or JD, and I graduated with a major in literature and philosophy.”

The emphasis on the humanities was rare among his peers and makes his eventual entry into the mortgage business even more unlikely, he said. From college, he went on to be an English teacher for 14 years, but realized that a career change might be needed.

“[I] then decided that living in Southern California on a teacher’s salary was never easy. And I realized that I had to do something different with my life. The teaching was very fulfilling for the soul, but not very fulfilling for the bank account. So I racked my brains and went to see the director who was kind enough to give me a bunch of money for the growth of the faculty. With that, I went to Spain for a summer.

Back home, he got into residential real estate in 2005. Things seemed to be going well, until the financial crisis hit.

Rotate to back

Immediately before the onset of the crisis, Moran describes a confident attitude towards mortgage activity as a whole before things turned bad.

“As we approached 2007, I was very confident that it would be a phenomenal year in real estate,” he said. “There were several multi-million dollar listings, including a home owned by Anthony Toro, who was and still is managing director of Sun West Mortgage. When Bear Stearns collapsed, AIG and all those dominoes happened, and all the private money was taken out of the mortgage space for a while, Anthony invited me to his house.

Toro asked Moran what it would take to come to work for Sun West, and when Moran asked what the company was doing, he recalls a feeling of sinking when informed that they had canceled jobs. mortgages.

“I play my cards to my chest and say ‘okay’ casually,” Moran recalled. “Deep down, I’m like, ‘This is terrible! I’ve only heard bad things about them from my parents and their generation, and how they take your house and throw the little lady out of the shoe in her time of despair.

Yet his actual knowledge of the reverse mortgage industry was minimal, so he agreed to come to work for Sun West, and in initial conversations with company officials, he found that the explanation they had given on the product had allayed many of his worries.

“They did a really good job of dispelling my initial reaction to the product and told me about the HECM program, its history, and went through a bunch of testimonials,” Moran recalled. “And I realized then that it was a very good product. Once I realized how it was used, the security guards in place and the counseling session that firmly educated the borrower on what this loan looks like financially for [borrowers and] heirs, I realized that this is a desperately needed financial product.

In 2009, Moran joined Urban Financial (now known as Finance of America Reverse), closely coinciding with the launch of the Fixed Rate Reverse Mortgage, as well as other product changes.

“The other big thing that happened back then was that Ginnie Mae finally lifted the moratorium on adding new issuers and accepted new lenders to give them their Ginnie Mae ticket,” a- he declared. “So it was a really good time. When Urban Financial finally got their ticket, it was phenomenal.


Moran also has the distinction of being a reverse mortgage professional who served as mayor of the city of Sierra Madre, California, after being transferred to that position while serving on the city council. Located in Los Angeles County just east of Pasadena, Moran grew up there feeling like the idyllic Mayberry from “The Andy Griffith Show.” He saw an opportunity to give back to his home, which led to a successful run for city council.

“When I ran for office it was a part-time job,” he said. “I told the people at Urban that I was running for city council, and all they asked was if it would affect my job. I told them no, since no one there is. done for the money. I think we got $227 a month to do the job, just for incidentals and driving to different meetings around Southland. That was it. So outside, I have to give back to the community in which I was blessed to be raised.

His political career came to an end, however, when he realized that there were only so many directions he could be pulled in without something having to be given.

“It was nice,” he says. “It just made me feel better about giving back and giving up your free time, outside. At the time we had no children. They came a few years later, and when it happened, I knew I didn’t have [any more] time to devote to it. »

Stay focus

The volume of reverse mortgages for fiscal years 2009-2012 fell significantly, exacerbated by the exit of major banking institutions in the space. Since it was still reasonably early in his reverse mortgage career when signs of a downturn appeared, Moran probably could have made the choice to leave the industry. Instead, he wanted to stick with it.

“I was absolutely satisfied,” he said. “I had never thought about getting out of the reverse space, but I definitely toyed with the idea of ​​how nice it is on the broker side.”

Staying connected with the stories people were telling about how a reverse mortgage helped provide some much-needed financial stability in their lives was, and remains, a highlight, Moran says. Additionally, once he moved into the wholesale business, Moran would send written stories of interactions with borrowers or opinion pieces that would include personal anecdotes about his family and how his children were growing up.

“[The reverse mortgage] a product that I know and love, but I also wanted people to know who I was,” he said. “I’ve met so many people over the years, who I’ve never met in person, who tell me how they watched my kids grow up. Or how they used to read my stories with their coffee from morning, and it was so exciting to know that what I was doing at the time really paid off.

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