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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   May 2019

Top Women Originators 2018: On Top of the World

These women are proving to be champions of the mortgage industry

Top Women Originators 2018: On Top of the World

For women, the real estate industry has long been a place to build a career. Take a look at real estate agents, for instance. About 63 percent of all agents were women in 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors.

When it comes to the mortgage industry, however, the picture appears to be quite different. Each year, Stratmor Group, a data-driven mortgage-advisory company, conducts a survey of mortgage originators across the nation. Their 2017 snapshot showed that 61 percent of mortgage originators were men, while 39 percent were women. These numbers have stayed roughly the same over the past few years.

To highlight women on this side of the industry, Scotsman Guide for the first time compiled a list of the Top Women Originators. These rankings draw upon thousands of submissions by mortgage professionals in the magazine’s annual Top Originators rankings, which were published last month.

The No. 1 spot for 2018 (based on total dollar volume) went to Guaranteed Rate’s Risha Kilaru. She produced $239.4 million in loans during 2018. Based in Fremont, Calif., Kilaru closed 343 loans with a mix of 76 percent purchase loans to 24 percent refinances.

Like many of her industry peers, Kilaru weathered a tough year. Her total dollar volume declined by about 10 percent compared to 2017, when she closed $268 million in loans. Still, Kilaru climbed in the Top Originators’ Total Dollar Volume rankings from No. 10 in 2017 to No. 6 in 2018.

Guild Mortgage’s Lizy Hoeffer Irvine came in second on the list of Top Women Originators. Although that’s an impressive feat on its own, what’s more remarkable is how she improved year over year.

Hoeffer Irvine, who has been in the business for 11 years, moved up from No. 55 to No. 13 on the Total Dollar Volume list. She originated $197.8 million in loans last year. That’s up from $139.5 million in 2017, a 42 percent increase.

Hoeffer Irvine, who is based in Phoenix, closed 844 loans, placing her at No. 6 for Most Closed Loans. Nearly all of her volume, 95 percent, was purchase loans.

Commonwealth Mortgage’s Julie Long, based in Massachusetts, came in third among Top Women Originators. She closed $163.9 million in loans. Like Kilaru, she also saw a  year-over-year drop in her total dollar volume, down from $238 million in 2017.

Much of Long’s production comes from refinances, even though the market shifted heavily to purchase loans. In 2018, her mix was 37 percent purchase loans and 63 percent refinances.

Rounding out the top five women originators are Becca Green of Guild Mortgage, based in Nevada, with $153.5 million in loan volume, and Carey Ann Cyr of CMG Financial, based in Tennessee, with $147.4 million.

Another woman of note is Stephanie Machado Barto of GMFS Mortgage in Louisiana, who was No. 1 on the Top USDA Volume list. She produced $22.6 million of her $109.6 million volume through the U.S.  Department of Agriculture loan program. (JD)

Online rankings:

Gender differences among originatorsr_2019-05_TWO-pg38-chart-genderbreakdown

For the past several years, Stratmor Group has produced an originator census survey that is designed to help mortgage companies understand and measure key attributes of their sales forces.

n its 2017 survey, the most recent available, the data-driven mortgage-advisory company reported the gender breakdown of originators as 61 percent men and 39 percent women. These numbers were roughly the same during the prior two years as well. The 2017 survey included 15,153 originators from 40 companies of all sizes. (A handful of companies did not report demographic data.)

The survey found little difference in terms of monthly production between women and men, said Nicole Yung, a senior partner with Stratmor. On average, however, women tended to stay at their companies longer, she said — 3.4 years for women compared with 3.1 years for men. There also was little difference in ages. Women originators surveyed were 48 years old, on average, while men were 46.

“It’s really about productivity,” Yung said. “It’s really a way to slice and dice loan-officer productivity and performance. It’s interesting. That’s what we built it for, but the fact that we have age, gender and ethnicity is what people tend to ask us about.” (JD)

More single women are buying homesr_2019-05_TWO-pg40-chart-characteristics

By far, married couples dominate the homebuying market, but that demographic has seen a notable downward trend over time. Single women are now making up a growing share of the market, according to statistics collected by the National Association of Realtors.

To be sure, as the share of married-couple homebuyers has dropped over time, the shares of unmarried couples, single men and single women who are buying have risen. But single women stand out as the second-largest group of homebuyers.

In 2018, 63 percent of homebuyers were married couples. Next were single women, who represented 18 percent of all homebuyers. That’s double the shares of unmarried couples and single men, who comprised 8 percent and 9 percent of homebuyers, respectively.

In 1985, 81 percent of homebuyers were married couples, followed by single women at 10 percent, single men at 6 percent and unmarried couples at 3 percent. (JD)

View your clients through multiple lenses

Women tend to approach purchasing decisions differently than men. That’s something that mortgage originators should consider when reaching out to clients, said Kristin Messerli, founder of Cultural Outreach.

Her business aims to help mortgage companies reach young and diverse borrowers through training, content creation and strategic partnerships.

“We don’t want to overgeneralize, but I think what happened and, why I started this business really, is that we (the mortgage industry) have designed our content, communication and everything with one majority market segment in mind,” Messerli said. “That has been the default of white, upper-class male.”

It’s important that mortgage companies think about how they communicate and build relationships with people from different perspectives, Messerli said. Women often make the consumer decisions in a household, she noted.

Does that mean that only women can sell to women? No, Messerli said.

“Lenders that really get it understand this is a people business,” Messerli said. “It’s understanding the people in front of you. Those who understand that and are strategic around that are thinking about how they’re communicating in person and on social media in a way that’s resonating with a diverse set of consumers. They’re the ones that are winning in their markets.” (JD)

Kristin Messerli

Kristin Messerli
Founder of Cultural Outreach

Contributors: Jim Davis (JD)

Verification: Mike Gagle, Garrett Geiger


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