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FAR, AAG to unify under Finance of America brand

Finance of America Companies (FOA) announced on Monday that its reverse mortgage brands — Finance of America Reverse (FAR) and American Advisors Group (AAG) — will be consolidated under the singular Finance of America brand going forward.

Scheduled to take place starting in the third quarter of 2024, the change remains subject to certain regulatory considerations. It is seen as a “milestone” for the unified company, which effectively became the leading presence in the reverse mortgage industry virtually overnight following the 2023 acquisition of AAG.

To get a better idea about what the rebranding will mean for the company’s efforts going forward, RMD sat down for an exclusive interview with FOA chief marketing officer Chris Moschner.

Next step toward full integration

‘’This is another key moment in our evolution and the result of ongoing collaboration among our teams to optimize our operational platform,” FOA President Kristen Sieffert said. “We see this as the precursor to our plan to break the reverse mortgage adoption barrier and make home equity a core component of a modern retirement.”

When asked about why now was the right moment to rebrand, Moschner explained that other integration priorities took precedent but that everything came together at an optimal time.

Chris Moschner

“Since the integration of AAG into FAR in April last year, we’ve been focused on integrating our teams, our systems and our processes, and we’ve made great progress,” he said. “We recognized early on that we wanted to make the strategic move and operate as a single brand, but it didn’t need to happen immediately out of the gate. Those were much more pressing needs.”

Now that the operational integrations are in a good place, the right time for the next milestone — brand unification — became clear, he said. But the choice of the brand to unify under was also a consideration, since AAG — particularly due to its longtime employment of spokesman Tom Selleck — could have been a potential option.

Moschner explained that the choice of FOA as a unified brand came from dedicated market research around brand awareness and equity, with the data pointing to FOA as the best option. One of the biggest benefits is unification under the existing parent company.

“We really believe that this unification piece is critical because it provides benefits not only to marketing but also across the company,” Moschner said. “If you think about it, it’s going to allow us to be more focused with our resources to drive greater awareness among our targeted audience.

“A single brand will help with our customer experience. You can imagine people who are on the phones having to navigate three different brands. It becomes tricky, and this helps simplify our vision and story for all constituents.”

That’s the case for employees, wholesale partners and even investors. The company is also confident that FOA can be a leadership brand, especially when combined with the marketing “muscle and reach” of the AAG assets gained in the acquisition — which will include an ongoing relationship with Selleck, Moschner said.

Employees and partners

When it comes to what the new brand integration will mean for employees, there are new synergistic opportunities within the organization that Moschner said can help to boost the internal company culture.

For brokers, a unified brand can help signal the potential for partnerships, including those with forward mortgage companies.

“As recently as a couple of weeks ago at The Gathering, it’s now evident there are a lot of forward mortgage lenders who are giving serious thought to reverse,” Moschner said. “If they’re looking for a partner, they’re looking for someone with a great product portfolio like we have. Our advertising potentially could be the thing that brings them into the fold.”

Having synergy across different channels will help FOA lead as both a lender in its own right, but also as a reverse mortgage industry ambassador to the companies expressing interest in the space, Moschner said.

“We really like this idea of having synergy across our different channels, using our brand, really, as an ambassador, as a way to signal not only the benefit that we provide but really our value product consistently to the marketplace here,” he explained.

Timing and broadening the business

In terms of the timeline, the company has been building toward this integration for the past several months. While Q3 2024 is the target to begin the process, it’s expected to take some time.

“All of this won’t happen at once,” he said. “As you can imagine, there are multiple channels and lots of materials that will need to be updated and transitioned, but the overwhelming majority of the transition will happen in Q3. By Q4, you will see us present consistently as Finance of America to the market.”

In terms of what the wider reverse mortgage industry should most know about this move, Moschner said this is just a step on a larger journey for the company.

“The bottom line is that external partners in the category should be looking to Finance of America for leadership and should be expecting exciting moves in the future as we seek to build this category, because we do view ourselves as a leader in it,” Moschner said. “And I think we all agree, the reverse category can be significantly larger and more relevant to a broader number of older Americans and older homeowners in this country than it is today. This is one of those ingredients that will help us ultimately deliver on that goal.”

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