Being an advocate for first-time buyers

by Ryan Smith30 Jun 2016
Shant Banosian is a branch manager at Guaranteed Rate, one of the largest lenders in the country. Banosian is one of the nation’s top originators, with a total volume of $347 million last year alone. He recently sat down with MPA to chat about how Guaranteed Rate’s approach made his originations take off, and about his passion for helping first-time buyers.

MPA: So what drew you to Guaranteed Rate?
Shant Banosian: Guaranteed Rate is a direct lender. We’re licensed in all 50 states. It’s been great for me. I came to Guaranteed Rate about five or six years ago. I worked at a small, regional player. Coming here and seeing the technology that was available to me, seeing the process efficiency, seeing the products and pricing they had – it was a real game-changer for me. I literally tripled my business in almost the first year, and the only really difference was that I was working for Guaranteed Rate. And every year since then I’ve increased my business, to the point that six years ago I did $50 million, and last year I did $347 million. And I’m on pace to do about $400 million this year.

MPA: What do you think it is about the company that helped your business so much?
SB: They really do a good job supporting top producers. They do a good job supporting everybody. The thing that resonated with me is that, from an originator’s standpoint, you want to work with a company that’s on the offensive. … They do everything they can to get the producers the tools they need to have in order to do the best job for their clients and referral partners. I can be everything to everybody. When the client walks into certain banks or other companies, everybody’s got a niche. I don’t really feel like we have a niche. I can help a first-time homebuyer who’s got 3% down. I can help a client who has zero down doing USDA or VA. I can help the client buying a jumbo luxury condo in the city. That’s important to me. I’m at the stage in my career where I don’t really want to develop a niche – I want to be able to help everybody. I think there’s business around the corner from every single one of those deals, and you never know what it could be.

MPA: You mentioned earlier that Guaranteed Rate’s investment in technology was important to you.
SB: The technology piece, I can’t really talk about enough. Everything’s going toward being digitized, and Guaranteed Rate has really embraced that. That’s been very helpful for me. It allows me to do more business, because I don’t get bogged down with processes. There are a lot of companies that are still doing mortgage business like it’s 1990, whereas we’re always a step ahead. I think that’s really important – the investment (Guaranteed Rate founder) Victor (Ciardelli) keeps making in technology at our company.

MPA: I understand one of your passions is first-time homebuyers. Why is that?
SB: I have the most fun with those clients. I think there’s the most excitement there. Generally first-time homebuyers come in all walks of life. When everyone thinks about first-time homebuyers, they think “young,” but what about the first-time buyer who’s been saving up for 20 years? That’s pretty cool too. I mean, the American dream is homeownership. It’s a pretty big thing to a lot of people.
When you work with a first-time homebuyer, you’re their advocate. You’re their advisor. They’re vulnerable, because they’re buying something that’s probably far and away the most expensive thing they’ve ever bought. So you really need to develop that trust and that rapport with them, and have great communication. I feel like all my first-time homebuyers, I do business with forever. Sometimes when people have done this a couple of times, it feels like just another transaction. But for first-time homebuyers, it’s a big deal, and those are the people I work with the most.



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