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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2018

Top Originators 2017

It was the year of battling higher rates and receding refinances

Top Originators 2017

r_2018-04_to-chart-1.jpgOnline rankings:

Luck has little to do with ranking on Top Originators. For nine years, only the mortgage industry’s best performers appeared on Scotsman Guide’s rigorously verified rankings. And despite the relative slowdown in mortgage originations, Top Originators 2017 continues to celebrate the excellence of hardworking mortgage bankers and brokers nationwide.

More than 3,000 entrants submitted their data for consideration this year, of whom we verified a record of 2,942 originators. Although less than a quarter of these entrants — 641 originators — made the rankings, this overwhelming interest echoes a positive sentiment in the market as well as the credibility and popularity of Top Originators. Read on to learn what the numbers tell us about the current state of originating mortgage loans.

It was a long time coming: Rising rates were inevitably going to hit the refi boom. But because the hit was slower and more gradual than anticipated, many originators — and their companies — had plenty of time to tweak their marketing strategies to target the thriving purchase market.

The Top Originators numbers over the years reflect this shift to the purchase market, even as recently as from 2016 to 2017. In Top Originators 2016, the total production of the 500 originators who ranked on the Top Dollar Volume list was split right at 50 percent between purchase and refinance business. The production of the 500 originators in the 2017 Top Dollar Volume list is split 75 percent in purchase volume and 25 percent in refi volume.

Lower refi shares meant lower volumes across the board in 2017 numbers. Out of the Top Dollar Volume’s 500 originators, more than 310 originators reported lower volumes in 2017 compared to 2016, including Mark Cohen of Cohen Financial Group, who has ranked No. 1 in total dollar volume every year since Top Originators 2012.

Cohen’s 2017 total volume was $579.6 million, an 8 percent drop from his previous year’s production of $631.6 million, although it remains an impressive accomplishment. Cohen’s 2017 production was split between purchases and refinances at 67 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

Volumes and loans

r_2018-04_to-chart-2.jpgThe number of loans closed in 2017 also dropped for the majority of our ranked originators. On the Most Loans Closed list, 154 originators out of the 300 who made the list closed fewer loans in 2017 compared to 2016.

Paul Volpe of NOVA Home Loans, who ranked No. 1 on the 2016 Most Loans Closed list with a rankings-record 1,440 loans, dropped to No. 3 in 2017 with 1,019, but the two originators ahead of him closed fewer loans than his record — and their own individual 2016 loan numbers. Shant Banosian of Guaranteed Rate seized the No. 1 spot with 1,129 closed loans and Max Leaman of New American Funding ranked second with 1,029.

Overall, the top 500 originators ranked on the 2017 Top Dollar Volume list closed 146,155 loans and a total volume of $50 billion, compared 169,983 loans at a total volume of $59.8 billion closed by their 2016 counterpart group.

The chart accompanying this story, “Top Originators Loan Production,” reflects the production of the top 200 originators only from the Top Dollar Volume rankings, because from 2009 to 2014 Scotsman Guide ranked only 200 originators by dollar volume.


The niche lists of Top Originators 2017 somewhat mirrored the overall drop of production volumes. These are the rankings of originators based on dollar volumes of loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The 75 originators on the 2017 Top FHA Volume list closed a total of $2.7 billion in loans, compared to $3.3 billion closed by their counterpart group on the 2016 list.

Similarly, the 25 originators on the 2017 Top USDA Volume list closed a total of $217 million in mortgages, compared to $219.5 million closed by their 2016 counter group.

The originators on the VA list bucked the trend, however. The group of 75 originators who ranked on the 2017 Top VA Volume list closed $5 billion in loans, slightly higher than the total volume of $4.8 billion closed by their 2016 counterpart group.

•  •  •

Congratulations to all the originators who made this year’s rankings. You have weathered significant market changes and managed to stay at — or even rise to — the top. There are already projections for higher originations this year, at least in the purchase market, so keep up the good work of helping people achieve their dream of homeownership.


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