For the seventh year in a row,
we compiled the industry’s most
comprehensive list of the nation’s top
mortgage originators. The rankings
include not only the originators who
are closing the most dollar volume
and the most loans, but also the
leaders in niche areas, like Federal
Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U. S.
Department of Agriculture loans as
well as home equity lines of credit.
View Scotsman Guide’s
Top Originators 2015 at
Michael Meena, Augusta Financial
No. 11 Top Dollar Volume (2015)
No. 14 Most Loans Closed (2015)
By Victor Whitman
Twenty years ago, California originator Michael
Meena started his mortgage company, Augusta
Financial, with two other partners out of the bedroom of his house in a small community in the Santa
Clarita Valley. Shortly afterwards, he hired his first
employee to pick up the workload after one of the
“And here we are — 85 employees later,” Meena says.
Meena is a hands-on business owner. He has strong
opinions on what it takes to be a successful loan officer. He does no traditional advertising. He reaches
out to Realtors and the other usual suspects in the
business, as well as financial planners who might
refer clients who are trying to build wealth and
retirement security through investment properties.
“It is marketing yourself, being out there, being
honest, being knowledgeable, being smart and
knowing your craft. It has nothing to do with putting an ad in the paper, and the phone will ring and
you will get business,” Meena says. “That is not the
way you build a business. That is the way you build
a pipeline for a short period of time, but that is not
what I am trying to do here.”
Last year was a good one for Meena. He closed
648 loans with a total balance of $249.2 million,
which exceeded his 2014 total production volume by
Victor Whitman is chief reporter for Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meena’s volume was evenly split between refinances and purchase loans. He says that will most likely
change this year as refinance volume declines.
“I don’t worry about it,” Meena says. “You have to go
ahead and be prepared for the next market. There
is always a purchase market. There is not always a
refinance market. If you are in the business for a
refi, you are going to be out of the business at some
point or you are going to be really struggling.”
Although the mortgage market is constantly changing, with new regulations and shifts in the market,
Meena says the job of a loan originator is essentially
unchanged. The person really needs to want it. In his
case, Meena landed his first job in the mortgage business with a friend in a distant office in Newport Beach,
California. He drove 80 miles one way for two years.
“It is about a relationship with whatever you do,”
Meena says. “People are too transactional, rather
than looking at the big picture, and the big picture
is taking care of your clients No. 1, and the commissions will fall into place down the road. Too many
people just want to work 15 or 20 hours a week in
this business, and that doesn’t build relationships.”