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
Austin Larr’s proximity to the working-class Indianapolis metro area made him a cheerleader for one
of the most accessible mortgage products available
to would-be homebuyers: FHA loans, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
“It’s a very blue-collar town,” says Larr, manager of
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.’s branch in
Fishers, Indiana, about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis. “It has its pockets of higher-end stuff just like
any other area does, but the majority of people in
the Midwest are going to be hourly employees and
just hardworking individuals.”
FHA loans, with their low downpayments and relaxed credit score requirements, are ideal for such
workers, Larr says. Additionally, Indiana has a number of downpayment-assistance programs that make
it even easier for working-class people to become
Larr’s awareness of his clients’ needs has translated
into business success. He ranked No. 2 for FHA loan
volume in Scotsman Guide’s Top Originator rankings
this year — which are based on 2017 data. It was the
second year in a row that he earned the No. 2 spot on
the FHA ranking. He also ranked No. 4 on this year’s
Most Loans Closed list.
Location alone isn’t enough to explain Larr’s success,
however. Educating and guiding clients is a priority for him. When working with clients whose credit
scores aren’t quite up to snuff, for example, Larr and
his team help them raise their scores to meet the
eligibility requirements for an FHA loan, he says.
Steven Wyble is online content editor for Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Referrals are a significant source of business as well.
Larr says he works with builders and real estate
agents in the area to gain new business. One way
to establish fruitful relationships with builders, in
particular, is to offer to take on deals their existing
lenders can’t fund, such as those requiring jumbo
loans or downpayment assistance, he says.
“You don’t compete with their current mortgage
company. You just say, ‘Hey, give me the ones you
can’t do,’” Larr explains.
Larr, like most mortgage originators, is grappling
with emerging technologies that are changing
the industry. He sees the biggest challenge — and
opportunity — in mobile technology.
“Millennials … want to do everything from their
phones,” he says. “So we have to make it as easy as
possible for them to do everything from their phones.”
Allowing borrowers to scan their financial documents with their phones and upload the files to
their mortgage application is one example of how
mobile technology is streamlining the mortgage
process, he says.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for them to
get everything done when it comes to the loan process without having to talk to people — without having to talk to me,” Larr says, “which is crazy to me.”
“I’ve been a handshake, kissing-babies guy my entire
life,” he adds, “so to make that change has been a
little different. We’re all adapting to that and trying
to find what technology fits.”
Irvine, Ca. photo by:
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com
Austin Larr, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
No. 2 Top FHA Volume (2017)