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
Ryan Sawyer enjoys working with veterans, so it’s
no surprise that he has built his career originating
Sawyer ranked No. 1 in Scotsman Guide’s Top
Originators 2017 rankings for VA loan volume, with
a total volume of $116.7 million. He closed a total
of 574 loans in 2017 — all of them VA loans.
Sawyer has specialized in originating VA loans for
the past seven years. For the past four years, he has
headed up a branch of the mortgage company Low
VA Rates in Clifton Park, New York, about 20 miles
north of Albany. Veterans are a great clientele to
work with, Sawyer says.
“When a veteran is happy with you, and you can
speak frankly and honestly to them … they stick
with you, and you can get a lot of referrals. It’s a
pretty tightknit group,” Sawyer says.
Sawyer, who is 33, had a passion for real estate from
a young age. His mother was a real estate agent,
introducing him to the world of home sales and
mortgages, and he bought his first house when he
was 19. When he was 21, he landed his first job as
a loan officer. Now, he runs a branch that employs
about 40 people.
Sawyer says technology is the secret weapon that
has propelled him to success. Technologies that originators rely on today — like customer-relationship
management software, loan origination software
and text messaging — weren’t available or widespread in the early 2000s when Sawyer was starting
out, he says.
Steven Wyble is online content editor for Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back then, applications from clients and their
accompanying files resulted in huge stacks of
paper. Now, that information can be stored
digitally, Sawyer says. “Computerizing everything
and [adopting] technology has really been able to
put us to another level,” he adds.
Sawyer says he envisions technology eventually cutting even more of the red tape out of the mortgage
application process. The streamlined VA refinance
loans Sawyer specializes in are still complicated to
close. Even though they don’t require income verification, an appraisal or a credit check — just copies
of a veteran’s military ID — it still takes 30 days to
close on a loan, he says.
“I do see that the future is doing applications online,”
he says. “I do think it would make it less expensive
for the public to be able to cut some of this red tape
down. … It’s very expensive, which then trickles
down to the public and the consumer. If we were
able to cut some of this stuff down, without jeopardizing the housing market, … that’s going to benefit
Additionally, Sawyer says he doesn’t believe in taking a hard-sell approach with borrowers, but rather
sees using a softer approach as being more effective.
“We came from a world before where people were
trying to put commitments on customers in the
initial phone call, and I never liked that atmosphere,”
he says. “So, I changed directions … years ago —
informing people more, instead of trying to sell to
them, [and that] has contributed a lot [to my success].”
Ryan Sawyer, Low VA Rates
No. 1 VA Volume (2017)