Shant Banosian is Guaranteed Rate’s number-one loan officer nationwide. Last year alone, he closed more than a thousand units and racked up $434.5 million in loan volume. MPA recently chatted with Banosian about his take on the state of the industry, the current regulatory framework, and how originators can take their business to the next level.
MPA: What’s the state of the industry right now, in your opinion?
The industry’s in a great position right now. Interest rates are still relatively low; we had a little spike at the beginning of the year, but they’ve come back down to near-historic levels. Any time you’re in the threes, it’s great. Mortgage defaults are at an all-time low.
MPA: At the same time, there’s a lot of talk about regulatory change with the new administration. Do you feel that’s needed? And if so, how drastic should it be?
I think there should be a little bit of change, but I don’t think there needs to be any drastic change in our business. I think that most of the things that have happened with regulation have really helped consumers. I think TRID was overblown; for me it’s really been almost a non-factor. For me, I think it’s great to be able to get stuff done three or four days out and get everything in the hands of the clients. I think it makes it easier for them; I think it also levels the playing field for good loan originators. We’re required to document everything up front accurately, and I think that’s okay.
The drawbacks to it are that it has required a lot of mortgage companies to really staff up, so there is a lot more overhead, and that gets passed on to the client.
MPA: You’re one of the country’s top loan originators. What advice would you give to other originators looking to up their game?
The one thing I’ve always focused on, from day one, is the quality of my work. What I mean by that is really paying attention to every single detail. When you’re issuing a pre-approval, make sure that you’re dotting every I and crossing every T. Really be thorough with your credit reports, your income documents, your asset documents. Really know your guidelines. When you’re just starting out, you’re not that busy, so it’s really important to research and understand all the products that are available to you and how to execute them.
Be super-efficient with your time. Every single day, I go in with a plan and I execute that plan. There’s not a lot of wasted time.
MPA: How important is developing referral partners?
The phone doesn’t just magically ring. You have to go out and ask for business. Asking for business is key. Getting out in front of every single referral source is a great way to start. Talk to every single real estate agent that you can – busy ones and even ones that aren’t that busy, because you never know when they’re going to get busy. Talk to every attorney, every financial advisor, every CPA – anybody who could possibly refer business to you. And when you do get that business, make sure you do a really great job, and make sure you communicate to everyone involved everything that’s going on in that transaction, from meeting the client all the way through closing and following up a month after.
There are a lot of people who assume that ‘everybody’s got a guy already.’ That’s really not the case. There are a lot of realtors who don’t work with people, or are looking for new relationships. You just have to not be afraid to ask for their business, and to sit down with people face-to-face and tell them the value proposition that you offer.
Timing and relationships can make the difference
Word of mouth can be an originator’s best friend