From the editor
BY RANIA OTEIF Y, EDITOR
BY VICTOR WHITMAN
One of the nation’s top originators has a simple formula
“It is just [about] communicating and returning phone
calls,” says Shawn huss, senior vice president at First
Place Bank, an Ohio-based community bank. huss also
subscribes to another rule that keeps realtors happy
and referrals flowing: “The key to success is being able
to meet timelines,” he says.
Working out of a cincinnati branch of First Place Bank,
huss says smaller banks can do these basics better than
big lenders, and that’s why he has done well in a tough
market while many big banks struggled to adjust in the
past few years.
his commitment to the basics certainly has paid off.
In 2012, huss closed 715 loans, totaling $141.3 million —
about 58 percent increase from his 2011 total dollar volume. Driven by low interest rates, refinances accounted
for 72 percent of his 2012 volume.
The market has changed in the past year, however. huss
concedes that almost all mortgage originators were faced
with the changes in government regulations and the end
of the refinance boom, but he is bullish about the business prospects this year.
Like many top originators, huss had to shift the focus of
his business to the purchase market after demand for refinances began to diminish early this past year. With 20 years
of experience, huss says the transition to a purchase market — one that comes with more stringent federal guidelines
on qualifying borrowers on the fringes of eligibility — has
To build a larger base of purchase clients, huss has
focused on new-construction loans and first-time
homebuyers to make up for lost refinance business. In addition, adopting a “doing-what-you-promise” philosophy
has helped him build a network of realtors and referrals.
Looking forward, huss expects the market to continue to
evolve, and with that it is important for him to focus on the
points that bring some sort of fulfillment. “The job is never
the same,” he says.
“Every loan situation is going to be a different scenario
[and] a different challenge. You get to meet a lot of people, and helping people with their housing dream definitely gives you a sense of satisfaction,” huss adds.
FIRST PLACE BANK
NO. 19 MOS T LOANS CLOSED (2012)
For the fourth year in a row, we compiled what we
believe is the industry’s most comprehensive list of the
nation’s top mortgage originators, brokers and more.
View Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators 2012 rankings at
TheRe iS a FLip-Side To The houSinG ReCoveRy.
although many signs point to a housing recovery that is increasingly taking hold, that
doesn’t mean mortgage brokers and originators can sit back and expect business to roll
in. More than ever before, mortgage professionals must keep tabs on the many recent
changes in the market and figure out what they mean for their individual businesses.
They also should monitor their competition closely.
For example, were you focused on the refinance market? Those deals are drying up now.
and when it comes to the purchase market, you should be prepared with a new set of tactics to make sure that you’re ready to capitalize on the growing demand there.
Many mortgage companies have been aware of such changes, and associate editor
Victor Whitman checked with a number of them on how they’ve been adjusting to the new
market realities. read his Back Space article on Page 114.
Whitman’s article is just one of the many we are running in this month’s edition that has a focus on business development. Several industry professionals are contributing their thoughts
on strategies that can help you bolster almost every aspect of your mortgage business — from
marketing to handling closings smoothly. Don’t miss our lead article by Mortgage returns’
Jim Blatt on Page 27, as well as a useful guide to smooth closings by Guaranteed rate’s Joe caltabiano on Page 77.
Mortgage brokers and originators even may think
outside the box to develop new business and
check opportunities in the commercial market.
Liberty Funding’s anita huedepohl provides
many critical points that you should keep
in mind before making the leap. read more
on Page 54.
Going for ward, business development will
become more crucial as the market picks
up and competition becomes fiercer.
Originators who have kept their eyes
on market changes and positioned
themselves to act ahead of the curve
are already in a good place.
as we at Scotsman Guide have been
working our way through the entries for Top Originators 2013 rankings,
there is an undeniable impression that
many have been able to weather the
ups and downs in the industry successfully. are you curious who made the list and who didn’t?
Keep an eye out for our april edition, which will feature our Top Originators 2013 rankings.
The success of individual originators also adds up to a collective benefit for their employers.
This past month, we opened entries for our second annual ranking of mortgage lenders —
Top Mortgage Lenders 2013. The competition is already heating up, and if you haven’t submitted your company data, do it now. The deadline is March 14. You will find the entry form
and criteria at scotsmanguide.com/TopLenders2013.
Why should you bother with all of these rankings? It is a matter of finding your place in the
market, and gauging your production and your company’s performance against peers.
In addition, Scotsman Guide’s rankings are the most verified in the industry, which means that
when you add your top-originator status to your signature or business card, clients and industry
contacts will know this ranking says a lot about the quality of your business and service.
Until next month, keep your eye on your business growth, and don’t let the competition
pass you by.