Slideshow Top Producers Pro Tips: Best of the West 2017

Published
  • April 10 2017, 1:24pm EDT
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Learn how some of the industry's most successful loan originators get it done with these tricks of the trade from the 2017 Top Producers rankings' top 20 loan officers of the West.

No. 20 Houtan Hormozian, Crestico Funding</br> Woodland Hills, Calif. (No. 48 overall)

What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?
Having a website is good but we still rely on in-person meetings and doing over-the-phone interviews with our clients.

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No. 19 David Jaffe, On Q Financial</br> Scottsdale, Ariz. (No. 45 overall)

There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?
It was maintaining a database of closed borrowers and staying in continual contact with them. Todd Duncan gave me this 25 years ago.

No. 18 Quoc Do, EverBank</br> Pleasanton, Calif. (No. 44 overall)

What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?
I use social media sites — Yelp, Redfin and Zillow — for my clients to comment on their experience working with me and my team. We have seen a huge benefit because our reviews are always positive.

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No. 17 Eric Rotner, Commerce Home Mortgage</br> Walnut Creek, Calif. (No. 43 overall)

If you hadn't become a loan officer, what would you have done instead?
I studied both finance and wine making (viticulture and enology) in college. I strongly considered entering the wine industry out of college before choosing the mortgage business. I would have been involved in the wine industry in some capacity.

No. 16 Dianne Crosby, Guaranteed Rate</br> Berkeley, Calif. (No. 40 overall)

What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?
Our clients' main competition is the cash buyer. Many of the families looking to make the Bay Area their home need to obtain a mortgage. They require a strong pre-approval with no financing contingency and a quick close in order to compete successfully.

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No. 15 Timothy Taylor, HomeBridge Financial Services</br> Santa Barbara, Calif. (No. 39 overall)

How do you develop and maintain relationships with real estate professionals?
I begin with face-to-face meetings and provide financing and marketing information. I keep up with social media interaction as well as ongoing targeted marketing which is specific to their business and mutually beneficial.

No. 14 Ryan Grant, Benchmark Mortgage</br> Irvine, Calif. (No. 37 overall)

What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?
In Orange County, we are starting to see an affordability issue where the average family is having a difficult time qualifying to buy a suitable home. Orange County residents that don't currently own a home run a risk of missing their entry point in the market if they don't act soon. We help with our unique client experience where we create a more educated, more motivated and more confident homebuyer.

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No. 13 Shashank Shekhar, Arcus Lending</br> San Jose, Calif. (No. 32 overall)

Tell us about a goal you've set for your business for the coming year.
As I run my own company, for me goals are both at a personal level and the company level. Arcus is planning to get licensed in 12 more states in the first quarter of this year. It is also building a proprietary technology platform for origination, processing, and underwriting which will be one of the best in the industry. At a personal level, my goal is to originate $300 million in loan volume.

No. 12 Randy Masters, Masters Team Mortgage</br> Folsom, Calif. (No. 26 overall)

What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?
I am old school; to me nothing is better than the telephone. I love calling a client to have a one-on-one communication with them and engage with how their loan is coming along. I believe text messages and email are becoming too impersonal. I do generally follow up with an email after a phone call yet I prefer to make a call from the beginning.

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No. 11 Michael Rodriguez, Platinum Capital Mortgage</br> Salinas, Calif. (No. 23 overall)

What's your favorite part about being a loan officer?
The feeling that I receive from my clients at the loan signing when they tell me that I have done a great job for them and that they appreciated my efforts and the stress free loan process. This is especially true as it relates to my first-time homebuyers who tell me that they had no idea that they would qualify to purchase a house. I enjoy the myriad of referrals that this generates.

No. 10 Brian Decker, Guraranteed Rate</br> Temecula, Calif. (No. 22 overall)

How do you develop and maintain relationships with real estate professionals?
I have created a softball team and bowling league whose members include my top Realtors, title agent representatives and my staff.

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No. 9 Ramon Walker, Mount Diablo Lending</br> Walnut Creek, Calif. (No. 20 overall)

What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?
We implemented a mobile application in 2016. To our surprise over 30% of the loan applications submitted were started through a mobile device. We also saw a substantial growth in the overall applications taken in through 2016, part of which was due to the streamlined, readily accessible mobile application.

No. 8 Risha Kilaru, HomeBridge Financial Services</br> Fremont, Calif. (No. 19 overall)

There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?
"If something does not work out, get over it. No one dies in a loan." That came from my husband.

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No. 7 Damon Germanides, Insignia Mortgage</br> Beverly Hills, Calif. (No. 17 overall)

What's your favorite part about being a loan officer?
I like that each day is different. Every morning, I spend an hour or so, reading up on the markets, world events, and mortgage specific updates. I then spend another hour organizing the day. After these two tasks are complete, I never know what will come up next. I still get excited when a new lead calls in and says they heard good things about me and would like to discuss their mortgage needs.

No. 6 Chris Furie, Insignia Mortgage</br> Beverly Hills, Calif. (No. 16 overall)

What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?
I have been doing this for 27 years so I tend not to worry to much and instead focus on keeping my borrowers and referral relationships happy and informed. However, higher interest at some point will probably create some challenges.

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No. 5 Ben Anderson, Guaranteed Rate</br> Irvine, Calif. (No. 14 overall)

Tell us about a goal you've set for your business for the coming year.
I don't set goals, other than I want to learn one new way to originate every day. My sole focus is on originating good business, regardless of rates or the market. If you can find one person every day that needs financing, your business will be strong enough to stand the test of time.

No. 4 Tony Adkins, Alliance Home Loans</br> Ladera Ranch, Calif. (No. 13 overall)

If you hadn't become a loan officer, what would you have done instead?
A stock broker/trader. I have dabbled in that arena as well. I enjoyed day trading. The fast pace is similar and the stress level matches the reward. I was a Navy corpsman when I was young. Amazing how that experience relates to the mortgage business. Quiet at times and then all hell breaks loose, focusing under stress and actually being energized by it. I couldn't be an accountant.

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No. 3 Thuan Nguyen, Loan Factory Inc.</br> San Jose, Calif. (No. 5 overall)

What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?
E-signatures has changed the way we interact with borrowers. Our borrowers do not need to come to our office nor print out documents. The entire loan process can be done online. All communication and document exchange takes place on our website and on the cloud. This speeds up the process, improves efficiently and communication, increases customer satisfaction and is more profitable for us.

No. 2 Brian Minkow, HomeBridge Financial Services</br> Westlake Village, Calif. (No. 3 overall)

There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?
My grandmother said to always "do what you say and say what you do!" I have lived by this mantra for years.

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No. 1 Mark Cohen, Cohen Financial Group</br> Beverly Hills, Calif. (No. 1 overall)

What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?
New lending guidelines are inflexible and lack common sense. That means agents cannot serve their clients with confidence, brokers cannot find funding for qualified potential buyers and deals take longer to close, when they close at all. All these factors combine to hobble the real estate industry and slow the recovery. And that's bad business for Los Angeles and our economy. Potential borrowers, who don't fit neatly into predetermined guidelines and those with legitimate but less traditional financial means are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain funding.