Residential Magazine

Shashank Shekhar, Arcus Lending

No. 4 Top Mortgage Brokers, No. 31 Top Dollar Volume (2019)

By Arnie Aurellano

Less than two years after Shashank Shekhar arrived in the U.S., he suddenly found himself unemployed. “I had an executive position in a company, but when the [2007-2009] financial crisis hit, the company had to shut its shop,” Shekhar recalled. “There I was, less than two years in the country, sitting at the kitchen table of a rented apartment with $1,900 in savings. I literally knew three people in the entire country. I had no friends, no relatives, just my three [former] co-workers from the last company I worked with.

“And I was like, ‘OK. I can either go back to corporate America and find another job, or there was this thing that I always wanted to do, which was to start my own company.’

“Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking, maybe,” Shekhar said with a laugh. 

He followed his dreams and started from scratch, founding Arcus Lending and diving headfirst into the mortgage business with less than $2,000 to his name. It wasn’t always easy, Shekhar admitted. There were plenty of doubts, plenty of long days and plenty of dead ends. A year into his foray into the lending industry, he finally had an epiphany.

“After 12 months of being in the business and doing seven loans in my first 12 months … I finally realized the first thing I needed to solve for: Where would I get my clients?” he asked.

In 2009, he said he started to focus on where prospective homebuyers were going. He began realizing that he was getting much of his news from blogs or videos, but not so much from newspapers or TV. So, he started blogging. Looking back, he believes he was one of the first 10 mortgage bloggers in the country at that time and he blogged roughly once a week for six months straight.

“I didn’t hear from anyone,” he chuckled. “I didn’t get a call. I didn’t get an email. But I continued doing it for some reason. I thought, ‘This is where the future is.’ And six months later, I got my first call saying, ‘Hey, I read your blog post and I have some questions.’ And I was like, ‘Holy [cow], someone is actually reading this thing.’ Well, two months later, I got a call from an editor who was writing a piece on mortgages.”

After that, Shekhar’s tenacity — and his marketing gamble — paid off. The editor connected him to other journalists and media outlets who were on the lookout for mortgage experts. A steady stream of clientele followed and Arcus Lending was on its way.

Today, both Shekhar and Arcus are leagues ahead of their humble beginnings. In Scotsman Guide’s 2019 Top Originators rankings, Shekhar placed 31st in the nation for Top Dollar Volume, closing $235,383,157 in loans. Among the publication’s Top Mortgage Brokers, he ranked an even more impressive No. 4 in dollar volume as well as fourth in loans closed by brokering 617 loans during the year.

It’s interesting because for the first 10 years of my career, I never thought that I would expand my organization at all.

Shekhar’s one-man band also has expanded to a team of 80 at Arcus. Shekhar has relished the new adventure of transitioning from ground-level originator to coach, steward and mentor.

“It’s interesting because for the first 10 years of my career, I never thought that I would expand my organization at all,” Shekhar said. “I was very happy with being a one-person producer, with a couple of processors and an assistant. I was extremely happy with that, because I controlled every aspect of the business. I actually thought that I wouldn’t enjoy bringing all the loan officers on board, and all of them would have their own idiosyncrasies and demands and things going on.”

As his business began to expand, however, he started to realize that was simply a new challenge. What he’s doing now is something quite different than what he had done for the previous decade, but he said he is thoroughly enjoying it. He got into business to help out clients and he’s now able to help other originators grow as well.

“I’m loving the process,” Shekhar said. “We are helping build the next generation of leaders and top producers, people who can make it to Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators ranking maybe next year or the year after. It’s extremely, extremely rewarding to see the team succeed, and you’ll probably see more people from our organization make that ranking sooner rather than later.” ●


You might also like...