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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   June 2019

Top Mortgage Lenders 2018

These thick-skinned companies delivered in a difficult market

Top Mortgage Lenders 2018

For the seventh straight year, Scotsman Guide is proud to present its annual Top Mortgage Lenders rankings. Last year was a tough one for many residential real estate lenders — a reality reflected in the overall dollar-volume and closed-loan declines by the lenders who voluntarily submitted to our intense verification process.

In the following pages, you’ll find rankings for the top 75 mortgage lenders across the nation, based on their 2018 production reports, as well as individualized rankings for retail, wholesale and correspondent lenders. We’re trying something new this year, too, by publishing our first verified rankings of the Top Wholesale Account Executives. In last month’s magazine, you may have seen the inclusion of another inaugural ranking — Top Women Originators — and both of these lists are designed to recognize the accomplishments of our readership.

We hope you enjoy this year’s rankings, and we wish you and your company further success for the remainder of 2019.

View online rankings >>

There’s a new No. 1 among Scotsman Guide’s Top Mortgage Lenders as United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), based in Pontiac, Michigan, topped the list in 2018 with a sales volume of $41.6 billion. UWM closed nearly 146,000 loans last year, with more than four in five loans originating through its wholesale channel. UWM increased its volume by more than $12 billion, or 41 percent, compared to 2017, when it ranked No. 4.

Last year’s top dog, Caliber Home Loans Inc., based in Coppell, Texas, came in second with a volume of $41.3 billion. Caliber closed more than 151,000 loans and its production numbers were evenly split across its wholesale, retail and correspondent channels. Third place went to AmeriHome Mortgage Co. LLC of Thousand Oaks, California, which had $36.5 billion in sales. All of its 156,000 closed loans — the most among Top Mortgage Lenders — came from correspondents.

Rounding out the top five are two perennial lending powers — California- based loanDepot and Michigan-based Flagstar Bank. loanDepot had $33 billion in sales with 84 percent of its 129,000 loans originating through its retail division. Flagstar did $32.5 billion in business and closed the bulk of its 117,000 loans through correspondents.

Across the board, however, the overall sales volume and number of closed loans decreased year over year in 2018 for the Top Mortgage Lenders. Overall volume dropped by 2.6 percent to $512.7 billion, while closed loans declined by 3.4 percent to 1.97 million.


r_2019-06_TML_chart-2For the fourth straight year, loanDepot is No. 1 for Top Retail Volume. Employing 2,000 originators, the second-most among Top Mortgage Lenders, loanDepot was able to retain its title as the top retail lender even though its production slipped compared to 2017. Its 2018 figure of $27.7 billion in retail sales was down year over year by 7.6 percent.

That pattern didn’t necessarily hold, however, for other Top Retail Volume lenders. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., based in Madison, Wisconsin, placed No. 2 with $25.2 billion in retail sales. That figure represented 94 percent of the company’s loan volume. Fairway, with nearly 2,700 originators nation- wide, also finished second in 2017, but its retail volume in 2018 was up by $5.2 billion, or 26 percent.

For a third consecutive year, Guaranteed Rate, based in Chicago, placed third in Top Retail Volume, closing $19.1 billion in loans in 2018. That figure was down only slightly from the $19.2 billion volume that Guaranteed Rate recorded in 2017.

Wholesale and correspondent

r_2019-06_TML_chart-1UWM, Caliber and loanDepot took the top three spots in the wholesale channel. UWM was the clear frontrunner, with its $33.8 billion in volume nearly tripling that of runner-up Caliber ($11.9 billion). loanDepot was third at $5.3 billion. Although UWM exceeded its 2017 wholesale volume of $29.4 billion, it was generally a down year for other lenders as only 13 companies exceeded $1 billion in wholesale volume in 2018, compared to 18 in 2017.

AmeriHome Mortgage ($36.5 billion), Flagstar ($24.1 billion) and Caliber ($11.7 billion) claimed the top three spots, respectively, in the correspondent lending channel. AmeriHome, a new entry in the 2018 rankings, dethroned Flagstar as No. 1 for Top Correspondent Volume. The top 10 correspondent lenders in 2018 significantly increased their volume compared to a year earlier, jumping from $72.4 billion in 2017 to $94.3 billion last year.

Wholesale account executives

r_2019-06_TML_chart-3Scotsman Guide instituted a new ranking for 2018 with its Top Wholesale Account Executives. The list of the top 100 executives starts on Page 52.

Christopher Calderon of Bluepoint Mortgage topped the list with a total volume of $726.7 million. Calderon closed 2,027 loans — an average loan size of $358,524 — which were closely split between purchase loans (58 percent) and refinances (42 percent).

Steve Bavaro and Robb Fordham of loanDepot Wholesale placed second and third with volumes of $571.9 million and $570.9 million, respectively. Caliber’s Tracy Evans was fourth at $516.3 million and Karen Olson of loanDepot Wholesale was fifth at $475.9 million. Everyone on the list cleared $90 million in volume and 16 wholesale account executives closed more than 1,000 loans during 2018.


United Wholesale Mortgage No. 1 Top Overall Volume 2018

By any measure, it was a good year for United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM).

The lender saw its overall loan volume surge to $41.6 billion in 2018, up from $29.5 billion in 2017, or a 41 percent increase. UWM closed 145,893 loans last year, up from 106,148 in 2017.

That allowed UWM to claim the top spot on the Top Overall Volume list for Scotsman Guide’s Top Mortgage Lenders 2018 rankings.

As the largest wholesale lender in the country, UWM rode a resurgence of business with independent mortgage brokers, CEO and president Mat Ishbia said.

“They’re growing and we’re growing with them,” Ishbia said. “So, it’s really more of a mortgage broker story than a UWM and Mat Ishbia story.”

Ishbia is a firm believer in the independent mortgage broker model, saying it’s the best way to deliver mortgages to clients. That’s why so many professionals have left the retail side of the industry to stake a claim of their own, Ishbia said.

UWM excelled in a year that was difficult for many in the mortgage industry. Part of UWM’s success can be attributed to aggressively introducing technology that helped brokers grow. Ishbia noted that UWM doesn’t compete on the retail side at all.

“We’re true partners to brokers,” he said. “So, brokers know that I’m their ally; I’m not their competitor in any way, shape or form. And that’s a big deal for brokers.” (JD)

Mat Ishbia

Mat Ishbia
United Wholesale Mortgage

r_2019-06_TML_chart-pg46 r_2019-06_TML_chart-pg48 r_2019-06_TML_chart-pg50

No. 1, Wholesale Account Executives

r_2019-06_TML_chart-pg52By almost every measure, 2018 was a challenging year for the mortgage industry, but Bluepoint Mortgage’s Christopher Calderon — the No. 1 volume producer in Scotsman Guide’s first Wholesale Account Executives rankings — said he expanded his roster of clients and brokers.

“Your mindset should always be to add new business,” Calderon said. “So, if the market is down, you’re not going to dip as much, and if the market increases, then you’ll see an even bigger increase. That’s really the philosophy.”

Calderon predicted that 2019 sales volumes for wholesale lenders would be roughly on par with 2018 and that more brokers would reach out for loans with borrowers who may not be able to obtain a standard qualified mortgage.

“Brokers are starting finally to kick the tires on non-QM products, whereas previously they were a lot more apprehensive about those,” Calderon said. “With rates being that low, who needed it, right? You were so flooded with conventional FHA, VA loans. Since that [business] has started to dry up slightly, the loan that maybe you would have passed on a year ago, you might try to figure out another way to make it work.” (VW)

Christopher Calderon,
Bluepoint Mortgage

Contributors: Jim Davis (JD) and Victor Whitman (VW)

Verification: Mike Gagle, Garrett Geiger


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