Scotsman Guide > Rankings > Top Originators 2010 > Q&A: Daniel Milstein #1 Top Ov

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Q&A: Daniel Milstein, Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group


Once a political refugee with 17 cents and one suitcase to his name, Daniel Milstein now stands atop Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators list for the second consecutive year. The high-paced CEO of Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group closed more than $385 million in 2010, and he did it while working in one of the hardest-hit states in the nation. He talked to us about his success and shared best practices for other originators.

More than half your business comes from Michigan with the rest spread around 19 other states. How do you succeed despite concentrating on such a struggling market? My strategy is high volume at discount prices. My average loan size is still in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, depending on the state.

Is there a secret to mortgage-origination success? The biggest thing for a loan officer is being available 24/7. Clients want a good rate, low fees and good service. It’s important to give them what they want on the spot. I don’t believe in voice mail. Everything is on the fly. I take phone calls from clients seven days a week.

Do you have any favorite mortgage stories? In my office, I have a framed napkin that’s a mini-application I took at 2:15 in the morning. It [was for] an airline pilot who landed in Dallas and was going to leave a message. I was out eating with some of my assistants, so I answered the phone. I was curious about who would be calling. Long story short, I took his loan. When other loan officers come to my office and talk about their bad days or bad weeks or whatever, I just point at this napkin. I tell them the biggest thing for any salesperson is to be available around the clock.

You’re CEO of a company with more than 400 employees but also a self- described loan officer who still takes his own applications. Why? When you close a $150,000 mortgage for a first-time homebuyer or for someone who’s moving up from a smaller house to a slightly larger one, they appreciate anything and everything you do for them. It’s what makes me get up and work hard every day.

How do you feel about recent regulatory changes? A lot of good things have happened. We don’t necessarily agree with some of the changes, but we accept them. And I welcome the idea of regulating loan officers across the country. I think the government has done almost enough. But somebody with bad credit can still get licensed in some states, and that’s a problem. The thing I keep telling everybody is that desperate people do desperate things.

Any tips for success moving forward? The loan officer of the future is somebody who will be able to adjust to technology in the marketplace and who will be able to actively and successfully sell loans across the country.

Darrick Meneken is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or

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