Reverse mortgage industry veteran Tane Cabe recently left his position at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.’s reverse division to transition back into a role as a reverse mortgage broker. He joined C2 Financial’s reverse division in a move that he says helped to return him to his “roots.”

RMD caught up with Cabe recently to learn about why he made the transition back to being a broker. He also spoke about what the reverse mortgage landscape is like in 2024, and other things he is working on — such as industry-specific software — as a longtime reverse mortgage industry professional with an interest in seeing the space grow.

Back to broker roots

Cabe, who is based in the Pacific Northwest, left Fairway in early January 2024. He described everything that’s happened since that point as a “whirlwind.”

Tane Cabe

“C2 is a good place for me to hang my license,” he said. “They’re a more forward-thinking broker, and there has been lots of activity with the HECM Tool, which is a software application that I developed.

“I’ve also been working on the HECM Toolbox, which is really just for lenders and loan officers who haven’t really got to the point where they want to grow their business, and also for lenders that are in the [mortgage] space but not yet in the reverse mortgage space. That way, credit unions, banks and other lenders [can use it] to help them get off to a good start.”

The reverse mortgage industry at large had a tough 2023, but loan originators and managers in different parts of the country previously told RMD that there seems to be more business activity, a welcome development considering the struggles of the past few years.

Cabe has similar feelings as his colleagues in different parts of the country, and he is generally optimistic about the state of the industry in early 2024.

“I think things have definitely picked up,” he said. “That seems to be the general feeling. I’ve talked to some leaders in this space recently and they’re telling me they’ve definitely seen an increase in volume. It just seems like the morale is better out there, for sure.”

‘I love the pursuit’

Cabe hasn’t been originating loans for the better part of two years, but now that he’s back in the mix of loan production, he says his phone is continuing to ring and his email inbox is being consistently replenished.

“People are interested in getting reverse mortgages and talking about them,” he said. “And so even without a lot of effort, that means that there’s something going on. Consumers are more motivated and more energized, even though rates are still up and principal limits are down. But I think there’s definitely a lot of good momentum out there.”

When asked if he missed originating reverse mortgages, Cabe said with a laugh that the answer is both yes and no.

“I love the pursuit of the loan, of key accounts, of builders and real estate groups, that sort of thing. I really do like that,” Cabe said. “[On the other hand], there’s never one loan that’s the same as another. Sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s the good and the bad that you have to take. But I have missed about 80% of it; 20% I might not miss.”

HECM Tool development

When asked about his development of the HECM Tool — software developed as a reverse mortgage sales conversion tool — Cabe said it goes back to the very beginning of his reverse mortgage career.

“I started doing reverse mortgages in 2003, and started by originating both forward and reverse,” he said. “What I realized on the reverse side is we don’t have a really good way to visually present the loan to a borrower prospect, or even a referral partner. What I found was I was sharing comparisons and amortization schedules, and all of that data just confused both potential referral partners and borrower prospects.”

Using certain forward-focused tools, Cabe said that data visualization could be a key difference-maker for the reverse space, and he sought to determine a way to present a reverse mortgage through data visualization tools. He started by creating pie charts with different types of HECM loans, and by using a PowerPoint slide he copied data from a reverse loan origination system that displayed key features of different loan prospects.

He would then break down the pie charts related to how the loan would work and visualized the homeowner’s equity position over time. Cabe found that people understood pretty easily and were eager to learn more.

“The thing I loved hearing from consumers is when they would ask me, ‘Why isn’t everybody doing this?’” Cabe said. “‘What do we do next?’ And so, I knew I was on to something.”

Specialized software

But the process for putting together the data visualization was laborious, and it involved moving through several different programs to get the right visuals that presented the most valuable and essential information to prospects, Cabe said.

“Hence the HECM Tool, which is a software application,“ he said. “So now, on a purchase, we can compare a HECM to all cash, or a HECM to a conventional mortgage, because when we do a purchase these people are either thinking of paying cash or getting a mortgage. There’s only two ways to buy a house and pay for it. But now there’s a third way, and so we can compare and contrast the two.”

Cabe has some industry partnerships for the software already in place. He also currently performs demonstrations for prospective partners who are interested, he noted.

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