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Residential Department: BackSpace: April 2015



Top Originators rankings mirror the industry’s 2014 slide

By the end of this past year, reports about the housing recovery and the mortgage-origination industry were less than heartening. Home sales prices grew at a significantly slower pace compared to the previous year, home sales were down and the total volume of originations was as low as $1.2 trillion.

Against this background, we at Scotsman Guide anticipated the Top Originators 2014 volumes and loans to drop not only from the refinance-boom peaks of 2012, but also from the moderate 2013 figures.

We were not mistaken in our predictions, unfortunately. Across the board, our ranked originators’ 2014 volumes and loans were clearly lower than the volumes and loans of the group that ranked on our Top Originators lists of 2012 and 2013. To quantify this drop, we’ve used comparable data from past years’ rankings. Here are the results.

Down, once again

The top 200 originators on our 2014 Top Dollar Volume list closed an aggregate dollar volume of more than $19.6 billion, nearly a 16 percent decrease from the aggregate volume closed by the 2013 counterpart group, and a massive 31 percent plunge from the aggregate volume closed by the 2012 counterpart group.

The number of closed loans also declined substantially in this year’s rankings. The top 150 originators on our 2014 Most Loans Closed list closed a total of 57,358 loans, which is a decline of 19 percent and 34 percent from the number of loans closed by the counterpart groups in 2013 and 2012, respectively. All variables considered, these drops indicate that the market continued to trend down for the second consecutive year.

Some originators on the 2014 Top Dollar Volume list bucked the trend, however, which helped cushion the overall volume drop in this past year. Only 117 of the 300 originators listed on our Top Dollar Volume outperformed their own 2013 production numbers.

For example, John Rodgers of Prime Mortgage Lending Inc. who claims the top spot on our Top Volume Gain, 2013 to 2014 list closed a total volume of $190 million in 2014, a 50 percent increase over his 2013 volume. Similarly, Mark Cohen of Cohen Financial Group who took the No. 1 spot on our Top Dollar Volume list for the third consecutive year increased his volume by 9.4 percent to his whopping 2014 volume of nearly $665 million.

Top Originators Loan Production and Niche Production Volumes from 2009 to 2014


Refinances continued to drop this past year, making up just 32 percent of the total volume of our top 300 originators on the Total Dollar Volume list. To put this share into perspective, refinances made up 51 percent and 72 percent of the aggregate volumes of the counterpart groups in 2013 and 2012. These falling refinances driven by edging-up rates and lower market demand were certainly a factor in suppressing the 2014 volumes across the various lending niches that we track, namely Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans.

The aggregate volume of the top 25 originators ranked on the Top FHA Volume list was just slightly more than $717 million, an 18 percent drop from the aggregate volume of the 2013 counterpart group and about 30 percent lower than the aggregate volume of the 2012 counterpart group.

Similarly, VA volumes of the originators ranked on our Top VA Volume list dropped from the heights of more than $2 billion in 2012 to $1.59 billion 2014, but they were slightly higher than the 2013 aggregate volume of $1.52 billion.

The exception in our rankings this year is USDA loans, where the aggregate volume of the top 25 originators on the Top USDA Volume list was higher than either of the 2013 and 2014 counterpart groups. The top 25 originators on our USDA list closed a total of nearly $216 million, compared to about $195 million in 2013 and $197 million in 2012. This increase could be a result of a larger interest in our USDA rankings this year, which brought several new faces.

Industry-wide, however, USDA-guaranteed lending was hit by the government shutdown at the beginning of this past fiscal year as well as the overall drop in refinances. In fiscal-year 2014, the number of USDA-guaranteed loans dropped by 14 percent to 139,828 loans and direct originations declined 8 percent to 6,560, according to data from the USDA.

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For six years, Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators rankings have celebrated the success of the nation’s top-producing originators and presented the status of the mortgage-origination market through its ups and downs. This year’s results — and the overall drop in originations — should be seen within the larger picture of an industry that is bouncing back from years of recession and trying to reach a natural equilibrium. 


Rania Efthemes is director of content strategy at Scotsman Guide Media. Reach her at (800) 297-6061 or

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