Scotsman Guide > Residential > September 2017 > Department

 Enter your e-mail address and password below.


Forgot your password? New User? Register Now.

Residential Department: Featured Top Originator: Stephanie Machado Barto, GMFS LLC: September 2017


Featured Top Originator: Stephanie Machado Barto, GMFS LLC

Fourteen years ago, Stephanie Machado Barto, then 23, was in the process of getting her master’s degree in business and was on the hunt for a job. She found one as a loan officer, and it didn’t take her long to find her place in the mortgage origination industry.

It turned out to be a tumultuous time to enter the world of mortgage origination, as it was only a few years before the real estate market crashed. But as the market began to collapse, Machado saw not chaos, but opportunity.

“Nobody really knew how to do [Federal Housing Administration] FHA, [Department of Veterans Affairs] VA and rural development [U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA] loans because [of] … the assumption that these loans were all harder,” Machado says. “People were used to subprime or just go-fast programs and easy ways to get loans, versus just knowing the product.”

When she started her own mortgage company in 2008 at age 27, Machado’s knowledge of those loan products helped her new venture take off.

“I learned those programs, especially the rural development program,” she says. “When other people decided to flee the business, I kind of thrived on learning these products and being very knowledgeable in the government products, not just conventional [loans].”

Since then, Machado has done well for herself, as evidenced by Scotsman Guide’s 2016 Top Originator rankings. Machado, who now works for GMFS LLC in Covington, Louisiana, ranked No. 1 for Top USDA Volume. She also ranked No. 45 for Most Loans Closed, and No. 114 for Top Dollar Volume.

One of the reasons Machado has been so successful with USDA loans is because many people qualify for them, even though they’re typically not aware that it’s a viable option. And USDA loans can actually be more affordable than FHA loans. The mortgage insurance on a USDA loan is about 30 percent to 40 percent lower than on FHA loans, she says, which results in lower monthly payments.

“We do a lot of FHA too, but just for the area, rural development is a product that is not as recognized as your VA and your FHA,” she says.

Machado says knowledge of the loan products she offers has been key to her success, and sales expertise, although important, is a secondary skill.

“You have to be well-diversified to do this job,” she says. “I think you have to have the knowledge and the background of these products. In addition, you have to have the sales capability to build your referral sources.

“I think at the end of the day a lot of people overpromise and underdeliver,” she adds. “Our goal is to set it straight in the beginning to make sure these loans get closed. You’ve got to know your product in order to sell it, and I think that’s the most important.”

For the eighth year in a row, we compiled the industry’s most comprehensive list of the nation’s top mortgage originators. The rankings include not only the originators who are closing the most dollar volume and the most loans, but also the leaders in niche areas, like Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans as well as home equity lines of credit.

View Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators 2016 at


Steven Wyble is the former online content editor of Scotsman Guide Media. For questions about this article, call (800) 297-6061 or

Fins A Lender Post a Loan
Residential Find a Lender Commercial Find a Lender
Scotsman Guide Digital Magazine


© 2019 Scotsman Guide Media. All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy