The best OL of Mass. occupied in a booming market

Loan originators processed $127.2 billion in residential mortgages statewide in 2021, down from $116.7 billion in 2020.

While loan originators saw residential mortgage volumes near or above record highs for the second year in a row in 2021, the early months of 2022 brought notable changes to the industry.

Rising mortgage rates put an end to the refinancing activity that has dominated the past two years. While loan originators are once again focusing on a very active buying market, the changing economy and real estate market leave them looking for new challenges.

“2020 and 2021 has been a great opportunity to serve many customers and gain market share across the country,” said Shant Banosian, executive vice president of Guaranteed Rate and Massachusetts’ leading loan originator of the year. last. “2022 is going to have its different set of challenges, but we welcome the opportunity to fight back and come out on top on the other side.”

A repeat of 2020

The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, has compiled from its proprietary Loan Originators Module the top loan originators for calendar year 2021 in Massachusetts. Originators are ranked by number of loans, statewide loan volume, region, and the institution with which they are most closely affiliated.

Loan originators processed $127.2 billion in residential mortgages statewide in 2021, according to The Warren Group, compared to $116.7 billion in 2020 and $67.7 billion pre-pandemic in 2019 of $33.88 billion in 2020 and up 35.1% from $30.24 billion in 2019.

Who were Massachusetts’ top loan originators in 2021? Check out our rankings to find out.

Loan originators also handled approximately 253,700 residential refinances in Massachusetts in 2021, up 4.2% from 2020. Refinances accounted for 75% of loan originator activity in both 2021 and 2020.

Leader Bank had seven of the top 10 bank loan originators by number of loans in Massachusetts last year, and the lender also had six of the top seven bank loan originators by volume.

Christopher Butts of Leader Bank, which originated the most loans in Massachusetts among bank lenders, said he ended 2020 thinking he had just gone through “once in a lifetime.”

Leader Bank had seven of the top 10 bank loan originators by number of loans in Massachusetts last year, and the lender also had six of the top seven bank loan originators by volume.

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“There you go, 2021 was the same as 2020,” Butts said. “It was the exact same year over and over again, but with maybe even less [interest] than the previous year and, in fact, a more active buying market than in 2020.”

Endurance has earned referrals from real estate agents

Unlike typical years, 2020 and 2021 did not see seasonal slow periods in the summer or early fall, Butts said. He added that he often worked 80 to 100 hours a week.

Butts has a dedicated loan processor and hired an assistant last year to help with pre-approvals and other tasks. Although Butts said he never reached a point where he felt burnt out, his loan processor needed to adjust his work-life balance, including eliminating weekend work.

About half of Butts’ business comes from referrals from realtors, and he said realtors often turn to him on weekends for pre-approvals because they know he’ll be available.

“I feel like I was gaining more referral partners because other people were burning out,” Butts said.

As 2020 approaches, Butts said he prefers to process loan applications over the phone, which he considers more efficient than online applications. But as 2020 progressed, he “reluctantly” started encouraging customers to apply for loans online and now prefers the online process.

Marcus Sohn, also with Leader Bank, said working from home increased his productivity, making him available to get loans more efficiently at the processing center. Sohn, the top bank loan originator by volume, said it had its busiest year in 2021.

“It was really easy to do my job because I love my job,” Sohn said. “Being a top producer for a long time was pretty amazing, and certainly with Leader Bank they gave us the tools to be able to do that.”

Lenders compete for purchases in 22

With higher rates ending most refinancing activity in 2022, Sohn said the purchase market has become more competitive, with more banks vying for each transaction.

“It’s going to be harder to get loans with the increased competition,” Sohn said. “I feel like there are more loan officers out there now than there have ever been in my career.”

Rising rates, low housing stock and rising home prices have also combined to create other challenges, Sohn said. With buyers foregoing contingencies, debt ratios changing and borrowers having difficulty qualifying for loans, Sohn said he had to work more with clients to set expectations up front and explain potential pitfalls. .

Sohn, who has been in the industry for 25 years, said he was not too concerned about the year ahead, thanking Leader Bank for offering competitive rates and remaining flexible with loan requirements to help borrowers to be approved in a way that might not be available to other lenders.

“It was really easy to do my job because I love my job.”

— Marcus Sohn, Bank Manager

Leader Bank’s Butts said working for a smaller bank, with its streamlined processes and access to senior management, gave him a competitive edge as a loan originator. He added that the bank continues to add products and services to help buyers compete in the marketplace, including underwritten pre-approvals.

“We have other things in the works to take the next step and really try to help our buyers in a super, super competitive seller’s market and make them stand out,” Butts said.

The guaranteed rate also offers underwritten pre-approvals through what the lender calls its PowerBid program. Banosian said this gives buyers an advantage because sellers and their agents will have more certainty about how quickly the deal can close.

Diane McLaughlin

Faster closings and locking in rates before buyers even start shopping for a home are other ways the guaranteed rate is helping buyers navigate the buying market, Banosian said.

In the past few weeks alone, Banosian has seen the effects of rising rates on the buying market and how much borrowers can afford to pay. But demand remains for the low inventory of homes on the market, Banosian said. He added that other factors will likely keep demand for housing high, including high rental costs in Massachusetts, incomes that have risen year-over-year and the number of millennials coming into the country. home buying age.

He also sees opportunities for lenders in this market.

“Whenever there are headwinds and challenges, that’s usually when the greatest opportunity for growth arises in the future,” Banosian said. “We want to make sure we’re doing a great job for our customers by helping them win and being able to answer their questions and be a bit of a beacon for them.”

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