Nearly 12 years ago, Shant Banosian found himself out of work, an early casualty of the mortgage meltdown. He was one of 3,000 laid off in a single day when the regional lender where he worked closed.
He enjoyed the mortgage industry, but he was unsure what he would do next. Three months after he got that pink slip in 2007, Banosian landed a new job at another mortgage company. He figured he’d give it a year to see if it would work out. It did.
This year, Banosian, now a Massachusetts-based branch manager for Guaranteed Rate, topped Scotsman Guide’s Top Dollar Volume list. He totaled $536.4 million in 2018 origination volume, up from $457.9 million in 2017, or a 17 percent increase. Banosian called it surreal.
“Ten years ago, I wasn’t even in the rankings,” Banosian said. “To be No. 1 now is pretty humbling and pretty cool. I’m obviously proud of it, because it takes a lot of hard work and effort and teamwork.”
Banosian overtook Mark Cohen, a broker based in Beverly Hills, California, who has placed No. 1 in the Top Dollar Volume rankings in the survey every year since 2012. Cohen placed No. 2 in the 2018 rankings with $505.5 million.
The son of Armenian immigrants, Banosian entered into the mortgage industry in 2003 based on a friend’s recommendation. “It’s an amazing business,” he said. “Nobody really understands the fulfillment and success you can have.”
After he was laid off, Banosian went to work for Superior Mortgage, which was purchased by Guaranteed Rate in 2012. Most of his business is done within 40 miles of Boston. “If you look at my business every single year, we’ve never had a down year,” Banosian said. “Every single year our volume has gone up little by little.”
He attributes his success to a “bunch of different things.” He said he has built an incredible team of talented people — he has a staff of about 15 — and works with great real estate agents who trust him. Success has actually gotten easier as his brand and reputation has grown.
“I’m going to have a great year this year, I can already tell,” Banosian said. “It has nothing to do with whether rates go up or down. It’s based on the market share we’ve grown and having the right people on my team.”
Banosian takes pride in working with everyone. He does jumbo loans, but also does government loans and conventional loans through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. He completed 1,216 loans last year with an average value of about $440,000 per loan. Many of his clients are first-time homebuyers.
“I remember being a first-time homebuyer and how special that was,” Banosian said. “When you think of the ‘check boxes’ in life, it’s getting married, graduating from high school or college, having a kid. Buying a house is right in there.
“The excitement that goes along with it — it’s just fun,” he said. “It’s fun being part of a milestone in someone’s life.”