Indy Johar set a goal to break $500 million in annual loan volume before he turned 50. Consider this ambition achieved. Johar, 48, doubled his goal last year by breaking the $1 billion production barrier. He was one of six people in Scotsman Guide’s annual Top Originators rankings who reached this mark, placing No. 5 on the publication’s Top Dollar Volume list.
“When the opportunity came to do a lot of business, I hunkered down and just kept on working,” Johar said. This meant a lot of long hours. Johar, who works for Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. and is based in Massachusetts, logged plenty of 140-hour weeks last year as interest rates plummeted. He said he typically went to bed at 3 a.m. and woke at 6:45 a.m. He did this sprint for eight to nine months.
This isn’t the first time that Johar has reached the top echelon of his profession. He ranked No. 2 in the nation on the Top Dollar Volume list in 2013, doing $404 million in loan volume while working at Guaranteed Rate.
His production fell over the years and he moved to Draper and Kramer Mortgage in 2017. He called his time at Guaranteed Rate positive but said that he needed a change of scenery to remotivate himself. During his first couple of years at Draper and Kramer, he also needed to learn new systems and meet new people. It was a slow process.
His family is originally from India, but Johar was born in Indianapolis, where his father earned Ph.D.s in mathematics and economics. Johar’s given first name is Harinder; Indy is a nickname that refers to the Indianapolis 500 race track, located near the family home. When Johar turned 4, the family moved back to India and his dad took a job teaching at a university. Johar kept his U.S. citizenship but, with the immigration rules at the time, was required to move back to the states by age 18 or lose his citizenship. Johar returned to the U.S. as a teenager.
In the early 1990s, Johar looked up one of his father’s former students, Sushil K. Tuli, who had started Leader Bank in Massachusetts. Tuli gave Johar his first job in the mortgage business. “He respected my father a lot. And he’s like, ‘OK, I’m going to hire you,’” Johar said. “From there, I just started doing everything in the mortgage business. I started from literally logging checks to ordering appraisals to processing.”
He eventually moved into sales where he could make the most money. Being grounded in all parts of the mortgage business has helped him as an originator. “Unless somebody gives me misinformation, the loan doesn’t get denied,” Johar said.
Most of the mortgages he closed last year — 88% of the 2,659 loans — were refinances. He said he enjoys the purchase business more, however, as he finds buyers more motivated and emotional.“When somebody buys a house, they’ll email you or call you,” Johar said. “They’ll go, ‘Oh, I got into my house. My kids love it.’ You get to talk to them. It’s a good feeling, you know? It’s a great business.”
Still, he’s worried about the current state of the housing market. He dabbles in development deals and thinks that there’s not enough profit due to too much red tape. He also is concerned about skyrocketing home prices as some sellers are getting $100,000 or more above the asking price. “How do our kids buy houses?” Johar asked. “How does my son even buy a condo? Forget about a house. The way that costs are going up, it’s crazy. We’re becoming like Europe or Asia where you only have a house if your father hands you down one.” ●