In 2021, Scotsman Guide’s 150 Top Mortgage Bankers — originators working in the retail channel — closed $60.7 billion in aggregate volume across more than 127,000 loans, a $3.6 billion increase from 2020. These familiar names also have topped many of the publication’s other rankings this year, including Top Purchase Volume, Top VA Volume, Top Veteran Originators and more.
Each year in June, Scotsman Guide releases the Top Mortgage Lenders rankings. Individuals employed by many of the Top Retail Lenders are well represented in this month’s list. Guaranteed Rate and its subsidiary, OriginPoint, have four originators in the top 10 and 20 in the top 150. CrossCountry Mortgage LLC is represented by 14 originators in the top 150, U.S. Bank by five, and Guild Mortgage Co. and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. with four apiece. But no company fared better than, well, Better, with 30 of its originators in the top 150.
Shant Banosian of Guaranteed Rate has been a fixture on the Top Originators rankings for years. And despite originating $2.2 billion in loans in 2021 to claim the top spot in this year’s Top Mortgage Bankers rankings (along with ranking No. 1 in Top Purchase Volume), Banosian said he’s still got lofty goals ahead of him. Read more about his past, present and future on Page 34.
Second place on the Top Mortgage Bankers list went to Ben Cohen of Guaranteed Rate, who closed $1.7 billion in total volume last year across 2,946 loans. He is followed by Christopher Gallo of NJ Lenders Corp., who closed 2,834 loans for $1.2 billion in originations.
In fourth and fifth places are Andrew Marquis of CrossCountry Mortgage ($951.6 million) and Tim Potempa, who did $857 million in business for Fairway before moving to OneTrust Home Loans. Rounding out the top 10 are Baret Kechian of LoanDepot ($837.2 million), Risha Kilaru of OriginPoint ($834.8 million), Danny Meier of Academy Mortgage Corp. ($799.4 million), Jarret Coleman of U.S. Bank ($778.5 million) and Brian Minkow of Homebridge Financial Services Inc. ($735.5 million).
For many of the Top Mortgage Bankers, 2021 was an opportune year to focus on building their purchase loan pipeline. In the 2020 production year, less than one-third of the top 150 bankers (only 43) did at least half of their business via purchase volume. Last year, however, 68 bankers accomplished this feat. This is a great sign for resiliency in this year’s tougher market.
Although 2021 was triumphant for these top-producing mortgage bankers, 2022 has undoubtedly been difficult for many. The dwindling refinance market led to layoffs and closures at many mortgage companies and banks. To the originators impacted by these restructurings, Scotsman Guide offers sincere condolences and best wishes for the future. And to all originators, we wish you a wonderful autumn and a successful start to your fourth quarter. ●
No. 1 Top Mortgage Banker
Shant Banosian, Guaranteed Rate
When Shant Banosian began his career in mortgages, a loan officer originating $1 billion in loans in a single year was unheard of — a far-fetched pipe dream. Even $100 million was a huge deal, he said. Amazingly, in 2021, Banosian originated more than $2.2 billion in loans with his team at Guaranteed Rate.
“Last year was a culmination of hard work and a perfect storm of opportunity,” Banosian told Scotsman Guide. “The purchase market was absolutely screaming hot; the refinance market was screaming hot. We were in a unique position, we’d prepared, staffed up … because we’d figured out everything in 2020 and 2021 was the payoff.”
He said he’s been able to scale up his business by treating it like an actual business, not simply a sales team. While sales are a huge part of the job, Banosian also focuses on hiring the right people, finding the most useful technology, and sharpening his marketing, client service and borrower retention plans.
He said he puts in work on the business side every week, and this patience pays off because it often takes time — six months to a year — to see the results. Banosian’s biggest change has been years in the making: He is now licensed in all 50 states, allowing him to follow his clients anywhere they may choose to move.
Although this year has had its fair share of challenges, Banosian said he took time to step back and put things in perspective. “We’re still on track to have our third-biggest year ever,” he noted.
Banosian is at the top of his game, but he still has lofty aspirations: His team wants to reach $5 billion in annual volume and establish a nationally recognized brand beyond his home in Massachusetts. He also wants to ramp up his annual fundraising initiatives for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Guaranteed Rate Foundation and The Greater Boston Food Bank.
“It’s important to set big, outrageous goals and have fun chasing them,” Banosian said. “I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Mortgage delinquency rate falls to lowest point in 23 years
The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate fell to 2.7% in May 2022, according to CoreLogic’s Loan Performance Insights report. This rate represented a decrease of two percentage points from May 2021 and was the lowest level recorded since 1999.
During this 12-month period, the serious-delinquency rate (loans that are 90 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure) decreased in each of the 384 metropolitan areas analyzed. The nationwide serious-delinquency rate dropped to pre-pandemic levels, according to CoreLogic, while the foreclosure rate stayed flat on a year-over-year basis at 0.3%, only 10 basis points above the historic low.
The report also noted that home-price appreciation, the resulting equity accumulation, and a strong job market have helped to keep delinquency and foreclosure rates low. Among active delinquencies, however, loans that were at least 120 days past due accounted for the largest share, which could foreshadow an uptick in the foreclosure rate later this year.
Cities with soaring home values may suffer in recession
The U.S. metro areas that experienced extreme home-price appreciation over the past two years are most at risk if the U.S. enters a recession, according to a July 2022 report from Redfin. Popular migration destinations in the Sun Belt — such as Phoenix, Tampa and Riverside, California — are the most susceptible to a decline in home values in a recessionary economy.
Redfin calculated risk scores for 98 metro areas based on several housing-related measurements, including home-price volatility, average debt-to-income ratios and home-price growth. Scores closest to 100 are most at risk.
The metros with the greatest risk already saw significant cooling in their housing markets as interest rates rose earlier this year. The top five most at-risk markets, according to Redfin, are Riverside (84); Boise, Idaho (76.9); Cape Coral, Florida (76.7); North Port, Florida (75); and Las Vegas (74.2). Sacramento; Bakersfield, California; Phoenix; Tampa; and Tucson, Arizona, rounded out the top 10.
The most resilient markets, meanwhile, are smaller and more affordable cities in the Rust Belt. Akron, Ohio, was deemed the least risky metro with a score of 29.6. This was due to its relatively stable prices along with being an unlikely target for second-home buyers and fix-and-flippers. Philadelphia and its suburbs in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, as well as El Paso, Texas, and Cleveland, also are unlikely to see home prices fall dramatically in a recession.