Industry-leading reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group (AAG) announced this week that it has appointed three financial services veterans to key executive leadership positions. The appointments are vice president-level hires in the disciplines of field sales, operations and human resources, respectively.
Two of the three new hires have work experience at the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), a financial services institution that offers services and products to people and families who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Ed Robinson, AAG’s recently-appointed president and COO, also spent time at USAA in its mortgage business.
These hires are the latest efforts the company has made to further build out the leadership team at the lender in light of a changing economy and housing market.
The new appointments
In a statement, Robinson spoke about the impact the new hires have already made on the organization and the experience level they each bring to the table.
“We’re excited to welcome these financial services industry veterans to our team. They each bring nearly 30 years of experience and business acumen in key industry verticals like banking, lending, and customer experience,” he said. “They have already contributed significantly to enhancing our customer experience as well as driving program consistency and optimization. We’re looking forward to the impact they will have on AAG.”
Nate La Cross is the lender’s new VP of field sales, having spent over 20 years in the mortgage and financial services industry. He most recently served as AVP of real estate originations and as a national sales executive for USAA, where he provided strategic direction to mortgage originations and oversaw business development and member advocacy.
Dean Griess is AAG’s new VP of learning and development, spearheading educational and organizational development plans for the business. Griess most recently served as director of learning delivery and design at Charles Schwab and previously served companies including Convergys, StarTek and Dish Network.
Lisa Hamilton is AAG’s new VP of underwriting and appraisal operations and comes to AAG from City National Bank where she served as VP of mortgage process improvement. Prior to that role, she served for six years at USAA in several roles including as director of both real estate operations and later of business risk controls.
Company goals in 2022 and beyond
When asked about whether or not the positions are new to the company, it was clarified that both Griess and Hamilton’s positions are newly-created while La Cross was filling an existing vacancy, according to an AAG spokesperson.
In terms of the timing, the company said that the ongoing corporate development plan remains crucial to the company’s ambitions this year.
“These hirings represent the evolution of AAG and our continued effort to put accomplished, veteran leadership in place,” the spokesperson told RMD in an email. “These vice presidents will be tasked with improving the processes of their respective departments and progressing our organization as a whole.”
The hirings also represent what the company wants to project to the reverse mortgage industry, the spokesperson said.
“AAG is focused on building a strong leadership bench and laying the foundation for the long-term success of the business,” the company told RMD.
In interviews earlier this year, Robinson described for RMD some of the broader company initiatives taking place including executive hirings, as well as an initiative focused on what Robinson described as “delighting the customer.”
“We are really at the early stage of morphing our marketing schemas to make sure that we overlay the learnings we’re having in the ‘delight the customer’ project,” Robinson told RMD at a recent reverse mortgage industry event. “To make sure we have a better way to reach out more to them, and to the influencers, such as the adult children, and folks in the financial advisor community.”
Recent developments at AAG
AAG has made a series of high-profile hiring decisions for much of the past year. Robinson himself first joined the organization in August 2021, a move that the company said would allow its founder and CEO to focus on other specific aspects of running the company and working toward unspecified initiatives for its future.
By the end of 2021, AAG appointed a new SVP of operations and chief compliance officer in support of its 2022 growth goals. By March 2022, the company announced the hiring of Scott Slifer to serve as the company’s new chief administrative officer, a move that placed him in charge of the lender’s national field sales, wholesale and business development divisions.
Slifer is also a former USAA employee, having served first as a production and distribution executive and later as its head of real estate lending.
In the first week of June, RMD reported on a round of layoffs at AAG affecting an unknown number of employees.