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Residential Department: Featured Top Originator: Joyce Smith: October 2013


Featured Top Originator: Joyce Smith

Joyce Smith, Primelending, No. 3 Top USDA Volume (2012)

When it comes to closing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans, PrimeLending’s Joyce Smith isn’t afraid of a lengthy loan process. If anything, with USDA mortgages, Smith says that extended time frames are par for the course.

“You’re mainly working with folks who need their hands held, because you’re working with 90 percent first-time homebuyers,” she says. “I do a lot of first-time homebuyer seminars to teach people about credit and budgets. Sometimes I’ve worked with someone for a year or two just to be able to get them mortgage-ready.”

After nine years in the origination industry, Smith certainly has made many rural homeowners mortgage-ready, and that was truer than ever this past year. Smith closed $10,013,790 in USDA loans in 2012, a significant increase from the $6,254,845 in USDA business that she closed in 2011. Her total number of closed loans increased, as well, from 144 loans in 2011 to 200 loans this past year.

Smith’s number of loans closed seems all the more impressive in light of the speed — or lack thereof — that sometimes characterizes USDA closing times. Smith never lets this become an issue, however, as quality communication is one of the hallmarks of her origination business.

“Once you understand how the program works, and you get your loan through your bank, you just have to make sure you set the right expectations upfront with your borrower and your Realtor,” she says. “[You need to tell them], ‘Hey, this is not a loan you’re going to close in 30 days. They’re going to take 30, 45, sometimes 60 days to close because the USDA can get very backed up.’”

In any case, it’s safe to say that the USDA niche has proved to be a good one as of late, and Smith says that 2013 may prove to be more of the same.

“Two months in a row now — June and July — were the best months I’ve ever had since I’ve been in the business,” she says. “In our area [of South Carolina], we never really had a huge decline in purchases like a lot of the country did, but it’s really been a great couple of years, and it’s looking like it’s going to be this year, too.”


Raymond Fleischmann was editor of Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition. For questions about this article, call (800) 297-6061 or e-mail

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