For the ninth 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 2017 at
By Steven Wyble
Every day, Mark Cohen of Cohen Financial Group
resets the clock. No matter how many loans he’s
closed that year, that month or that week, every
morning he goes back to square one.
That mindset apparently works wonders. For the
sixth year in a row, Cohen has topped Scotsman
Guide’s Top Dollar Volume list. Cohen’s 2017
mortgage-origination volume totaled $579.6 million.
He closed 541 loans — 67 percent of them purchases,
and 33 percent refinances.
Although Cohen says resetting the clock each day
motivates him to close more loans, he also benefits
from his wealth of experience. He’s been originating
mortgages for more than 30 years, after getting into
the game in 1986. He also receives a ton of support
from his staff, he says.
“I’ve got a good staff, and I know a lot of people,”
he says. “I know the business and have a large
clientele and following. It’s just pieces that fall into
place most of the time. Not to say that there aren’t
things that pop up … [but] if you lose a deal, you’ve
just got to move forward.”
Cohen acknowledges that recent changes to the
tax code could present challenges in the near future, particularly in the expensive Beverly Hills area
where he works. Congress’ move to lower the cap
on the mortgage interest deduction from $1 million
of debt to $750,000 is worrying, but he doesn’t see
it having a terribly large impact. What’s more troublesome is the $10,000 cap on deducting state and
local income and property taxes, he says.
Steven Wyble is online content editor for Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That is a big issue,” he says, noting that the property
taxes on a $3 million house can come to tens of thousands of dollars per year. “It’s a big thing. It hurts,”
Even so, it’s difficult to gauge the actual impact
of the tax changes this soon after their passage,
“You have strong demand, a low inventory and a
strong economy,” he adds. “You can’t really tell right
now [what the impact is] until the tide has turned
and the economy slows down, and people say,
‘I can’t buy a house because of the property taxes.’
Because everyone’s making more money now … so
it’s all good until it’s not good.”
Cohen says it seems inevitable that mortgage rates
will continue to rise, but he doesn’t think a quarter-to a half-point rise will break the market.
“But it is making it more difficult to qualify for people,
especially with these rigid ratios,” he says. “That’s
going to be an issue.”
But the bottom line is that there’s room in the market for anyone who’s willing to adapt to the constant
changes, Cohen says.
“It’s challenging,” he says, “but people who want
to find out what their niche is and (have the) determination to do the right things in business, [they]
can still compete in this very competitive market.”
Mark Cohen, Cohen Financial Group
No. 1 Top Dollar Volume (2017)