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Former Norcom reverse mortgage team moving to Supreme Lending

The former reverse mortgage team from Norcom Mortgage in Avon, Connecticut — which elected not to move to CMG Financial following its acquisition of Norcom last month — has selected Texas-based Supreme Lending as its new home, with John Luddy serving as SVP of reverse lending.

After engaging in conversations with multiple lenders following the news of the team’s departure from Norcom/CMG, Luddy credits Supreme’s Candice McNaught — the lender’s senior vice president of national sales — as the key difference-maker in the team’s decision to join Supreme Lending.

RMD sat down with Luddy and McNaught to get a better understanding of how the move happened and what it will mean for Supreme’s reverse mortgage posture.

Move to Supreme

When asked about how Luddy and his team came to their final decision, he said the process was a slow and deliberate one.

“We were very, very cautious because we want this to be our forever home,” Luddy said. “We built a matrix and a scoring system, and Supreme scored 100. We had interviews with dozens of lenders and, quite frankly, we could have gone to many great places. Great friends in the industry all reached out, and Supreme became one we started to look more closely at.”

John Luddy

That’s mostly because the company’s prior involvement in the reverse mortgage space was primarily limited to brokering loans as opposed to doing them in-house, McNaught said.

“This is going to offer another channel for Supreme Lending,” she explained. “This isn’t an avenue that we’ve deeply delved into because it takes market experience. John Luddy has a reputation, has experience and he’s not risk-averse.

“Reverse mortgages have misconceptions, and I think that parlaying the reverse name with someone that’s got the notoriety and the reputation that John has in the mortgage business is the only reason why we’re open to adding this channel and this outlet to the company.”

Luddy credited the team at Supreme — and McNaught in particular — for their knowledge and enthusiasm, which helped to make clear that this was the right fit.

“Candice is like no one else I’ve met in the business,” Luddy said. “She absolutely checked all the boxes for us. She’s smart, she knows everything and she’s so easy to work with.”

The ‘right fit’

McNaught said that Luddy’s experience extends beyond mortgages. His sales training experience also brings a lot of value to the organization as it expands its involvement in reverse.

“He’s going to come into Supreme Lending and he is going to offer an extension of training to help people better understand reverse,” McNaught said. “If you ask John, a reverse mortgage is just really a refinance for an FHA program, and then you just have to be of a certain age in order to qualify for it. And so I think that even for us as a whole, it’s opened our eyes a little bit to not be so fearful of the reverse space.”

Mortgage professionals’ attitudes can often be seen and felt by borrowers, which Luddy said made a big difference for him and his team as they looked into working with new partners. In terms of his own journey, Luddy said that the outpouring of support he received from his industry colleagues after announcing the intent to leave Norcom/CMG was gratifying.

“I would suggest that if anyone is going to go through what I went through, it helps to have a great network of friends and folks in the business,” he said. “I had literally 100 people reach out to me, who offered help to find me a position, or who offered me a position directly. In this economy, and in the mortgage business, to think that there were so many people that stepped up to help, I would say be good to your people that are in the industry. It was very humbling.”

Next steps

When asked about where things go from here, Luddy said that the first step is to scale the division.

“We’re very much in the hiring mode and very much in the training of the folks that are already there,” Luddy said. “We want to give them an opportunity to participate in the program, and then we’ll be looking to others to fill in the gaps. This is a huge company with a lot of opportunities for myself, my team and the folks that are there, and people that want to join us.”

McNaught added that the idea is for Supreme to roll out the reverse mortgage offering through its regional offices, which are part of the company but have recruited and brought in their own groups, she said.

“We’re not your traditional IMB,” McNaught said. “We will take this to our regional players and explain that we have a new channel, and that if it’s something that they’re interested in for expanding in their region, then we would love to introduce them to John Luddy.”

Competitors’ interest

The company maintains large regional groups in California and Florida, McNaught explained, and they will be given the option to dive more deeply into reverse.

“I think that John is going to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience for sharing the story about reverse mortgages and trying to bust the myths,” she said. “And if they’re interested, that’s great.”

McNaught also brought up the additional interest that many forward mortgage competitors have developed for reverse of late. She cited the opening last year of a reverse mortgage division at PrimeLending, as well as existing channels at companies like Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., U.S. Mortgage Corporation and CMG Financial.

“We’re just following suit with all of our competitors that are in the space,” she said. “We feel really grateful that John gave us consideration and was open to speaking to us. Luckily, he just fell in love with the culture of Supreme, and he knows that he’s going to be a great business partner for the long term.”

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