For the eighth 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 2016 at
By Steven Wyble
When Austin Larr bought a house fresh out of college, he fell in love with the homebuying process.
He was around 22, and it was before the housing-market crash. He bought the house in the college
town of Muncie, Indiana, for less than $100,000. When
he moved about a year-and-a-half later, he sold the
house to the college and earned a 25 percent profit.
“I literally thought it was just that easy,” Larr
remembers. “I just thought, you know what? This is
a great industry. … Obviously, the crash happened,
and then I realized that not all transactions are that
easy. But naïve at 22, 23, I thought that that was
where the money was.”
Though naivety may have prompted Larr to enter
the mortgage industry, the satisfaction of professional growth has kept him there. He started as a
loan officer around age 26, and now has a team of
employees around that age.
“I love to be able to teach the trade, and we just
grow in the process,” he says. Larr started at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. in 2010. He’s now
manager of the Fishers, Indiana, branch.
One way Larr’s branch stays nimble in an ever-changing industry is by recruiting young people
who can connect with today’s millennial homebuyers. Larr’s branch hires and trains people new
to the industry as a way of addressing the aging of
industry professionals as well.
“We look for bright, young minds that are really
go-getters, that don’t necessarily have any connections in the industry, that we’re going to train,” he
says. “We start everybody out in kind of an assistant
role and then eventually graduate them to a junior
Steven Wyble is online content editor for Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
loan officer (position), and then on to a full-blown
loan officer. It’s a great way to grow.”
The most valuable advice Larr gives to new loan
officers is to devise a system and stick to it, he
says. That means planning out the week, such as
following up with phone calls on Tuesdays, taking
new leads on Wednesdays and visiting real estate
agents’ offices on Thursdays.
“Figure out what works,” he says. “You tweak as you
go, but you do that system day in and day out. And
you may not see immediate results, but you will see
results over the long term.”
The numbers suggest Larr knows what he’s talking
about. He ranked No. 2 for FHA loan volume in
Scotsman Guide’s most recent Top Originator rankings,
which are based on 2016 loan data. He credits his focus on Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, loans
to the fact that he is located in the Indianapolis metro
area. It’s home to many factory and other blue-collar
workers who are primed to take advantage of the
lower downpayments and higher debt-to-income
ratios associated with FHA-backed loans, he says.
“It really fits this Midwestern community,” he says,
adding that he also markets to many first-time
Larr believes the most important thing he, or anyone else in the industry, can do to maintain their
success is to look to mobile technology. Mobile is
the future of the mortgage industry, he insists.
“The companies that are embracing that (mobile)
technology will be around for the long term, and
those that aren’t are going to have to figure something out pretty soon,” he says.
Austin Larr, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
No. 2 Top FHA Volume (2016)