Residential Magazine

2023 Top Veteran Originators

After proudly serving their country, these originators serve their communities

By Hannah Darden

Each year around Independence Day, Scotsman Guide highlights the contributions of military veterans in the mortgage industry. This year, our Top Veteran Originators closed $4.7 billion in loan volume and secured financing for nearly 13,000 homes in their communities across the nation.

While the overall volume of the Top Veteran Originators in the 2022 production year fell from the sky-high totals of the two previous years, it rose from the 2019 production year and continued an overall upward trend. The winning individual volume also increased from 2019, with the No. 1 Top Veteran Originator — Jason Smith of Nova Home Loans, a Navy vet — doing $175.5 million in business.

Second on the list is Army vet Patton Gade of LoanDepot, who originated $165.4 million. Named after the legendary Gen. George Patton, Gade specializes in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and also took the top spot among the publication’s Top VA Volume originators. Read more about him in this month’s Featured Top Originator.

Third on the Top Veteran Originators list is Ray Shanahan of TowneBank Mortgage, an Army veteran who closed $159.7 million in loans in 2022. Rounding out the top five are Navy vet Martin Medve of Trident Home Loans LLC ($147.6 million) and Air Force vet Joseph Smith of CrossCountry Mortgage ($119.3 million).

Also highlighted this month are the Top VA Volume rankings. These originators specialize in loans for active-duty military members, reserves and veterans, and you’ll see a lot of overlap with the Top Veteran Originators list. As members of the military community, many of these originators speak the language of VA loans and excel in this arena.

At the front of the Top VA Volume list, as mentioned, is Patton Gade of LoanDepot, who originated $135.8 million across 255 VA loans. Reginald Maddox of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. came in second, originating 236 VA loans for an aggregate volume of $133.2 million. Jennifer Beeston of Guaranteed Rate was third, originating $117.3 million across 286 VA loans. Rounding out the top five are Martin Medve of Trident Home Loans LLC with $117.1 million and Scott Evans of CrossCountry Mortgage with $115.3 million.

Scotsman Guide thanks all of the Top Veteran Originators for their service, as well as the Top VA Volume professionals for helping the nation’s military members and veterans to secure their dream homes. Happy Independence Day to all of our readers — soak up some sun and enjoy the barbecues and fireworks.

Rankings verification: Hannah Darden, Brian Warr

Total loan volume drops but exceeds pre-pandemic figure

Click to zoom

The aggregate volume of the 75 people listed in this year’s Top Veteran Originators rankings fell significantly from last year but is still trending upward overall compared to the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s aggregate volume was $4.7 billion, down from last year’s total of $7.7 billion, while still representing an increase from the $4.1 billion total in the 2020 rankings (based on the 2019 production year).

Additionally, the average loan size for this year’s top 75 originators — the aggregate loan volume divided by the total number of loans closed — fell by only $2,000 from the 2022 rankings. The average loan size of $363,297 represents a huge increase from the 2019 production year, which saw an average loan size of $285,135. And the total loan volume of the top-ranked veteran loan officer also rose during this time, jumping from $101.9 million in the 2020 rankings to $175.5 million this year.

Home prices, interest rates of concern for VA borrowers

Click to zoom

More than 70% of current military service members plan to buy a home in the next five years, according to a recent survey from Veterans United Home Loans. About 30% of all respondents said they’re planning to buy this year, including 15% of veterans.

Among the service members and veterans surveyed, high home prices had the biggest impact on the decision to buy a home. About 56% of respondents believe that it will be somewhat difficult or very difficult to buy a home in the next year. Veterans also noted rising mortgage rates as a concern for their homebuying plans.

Almost 70% of active-duty military reportedly rent a home or live in base housing. Only 29% own their homes, compared to 58% of veterans and 61% of National Guard and Reserve members. Awareness of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan program was highest among active-duty personnel, while most respondents said that the zero-downpayment option was the biggest benefit.

Notably, the proximity of a service member to a military base influenced their awareness of the VA loan benefit. Those who lived less than 30 minutes from a base were much more aware than those who lived at least three hours away. According to the survey, this means National Guard and Reserve members may be less aware of their benefit.

Steady rise of women in military continues

Click to zoom

The total number of U.S. military and civilian personnel remained relatively flat from 2020 to 2021, with the share of women in the military ticking upward slightly, according to a demographics report from the Department of Defense. Inclusive of all active-duty, National Guard, Reserve and civilian personnel, about 3.5 million Americans work in military jobs.

In 2021, the last year of available data, women represented 17.3% of the active-duty force, up 10 basis points from 2020. Among the National Guard and Reserves, women made up 21.4%, an increase of 30 basis points from 2020. Between 2017 and 2021, female representation rose 1.1 percentage points in the active-duty force and 1.8 points in the Guard and Reserves.

The report found that 31.1% of active-duty members were racial minorities, with 17.2% identifying as Black or African American. Another 17.7% of active-duty members identified as Hispanic or Latino.

The average age for an active-duty member was 28, with more than 44% under the age of 26. Among officers, the average age was 34 years, with the 26- to 30-year-old age group and the 41-and-over group each representing the largest brackets by age at 23.1%.

Coastal areas saw most expensive VA loans

Click to zoom

Coastal and island states, along with U.S. territories, had the largest average VA purchase loan sizes in fiscal year 2022 (the 12-month period ending this past September), according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Unsurprisingly, Hawaii topped the list with an average VA purchase loan amount of $741,962.

Washington, D.C., followed closely behind at an average of $726,625. In third place was California, with an average purchase loan amount of $600,334, while the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington state rounded out the top five with average loan sizes of more than $500,000. While thousands of VA purchase loans were done in Hawaii — and tens of thousands in California and Washington — it’s worth noting that only 467 purchase loans were completed in Washington, D.C., with just 40 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The states with the most VA purchase loans were Texas, Florida and Virginia. This suggests that while the typical loan amounts aren’t as high in these locations — ranging from $358,000 in Florida to $429,000 in Virginia — there’s more business to be done there.


You might also like...