Top originator: Honesty, integrity and consistency secret to success

by Ryan Smith17 Jan 2014
Shimmy Braun, Guaranteed Rate’s top producer for four years in a row, is also perennially among the top producers in Illinois and the nation. In 2012, Braun did more than $310 million in total volume and had a closing ratio of 95%. But Braun, who’s been an originator for 13 years, fell into the mortgage business after starting out on a very different path.

“My dad was a commercial mortgage lender, and I went in (to the business) I’d studied at rabbinical college, so I didn’t have any formal business training,” he says. “I joined his company in the residential area, and it fit, so that’s what I kept on doing.”

Braun says there’s no real secret to his success – just old-fashioned hard work.

“People always ask me what the secret is. I don’t have anything magical,” he said. “I’ve just always worked with honesty, integrity and consistency. I focus much more on volume than individual profit. I didn’t look to make a whole bunch on each loan. And also, I always, always asked for business. My basic sales approach has always been a warm, low-pressure approach. After being consistent with that and working hard and asking for business, I’ve seen it grow.”

And Braun expects business to continue to grow despite today’s climate of fluctuating rates.

“Seven, eight years ago, rates were at 6%,” he said.” I think as the market adjusts, it’ll shift to purchases. Every time there’s a bump up in rates, it takes people a while to become comfortable with it, but they will. I don’t see purchases slowing down. I would think that that’s going to continue to grow.

Shimmy Braun is one of MPA’s Hot 100 – the movers and shakers who are making waves in the mortgage industry. To find out who else made the list, check out the current issue of MPA Magazine.


  • by Wm Matz | 1/17/2014 10:13:47 AM

    So long as we continue to judge originators solely by volume mortgage origination will continue to be merely another sales job versus a financial profession. Home mortgages need to be part of a financial planning process in which a QUALIFIED originator can be a valuable member of the team. A low-margin, high-volume originator is unlikely to fill that role.

  • by DGjeldum | 1/21/2014 7:18:04 AM

    Mr. Matz - I would encourage you think better before you throw around generalizations. You haven't met a better originator or someone who cares for his clients more than Shimmy. He is overly qualified and an extremely valuable member of his clients' and referral partners' teams. It sounds more like you're jealous of how someone can do production like he can and still deliver high quality service and gain multiple referrals.

  • by BBurns | 1/21/2014 11:07:31 AM

    Mr. Matz, does a low margin mortgage not help the client out in their long term financial goals? Low Margin means low rates. Low rates and cost allow a client to save more. I believe a truly "QUALIFIED" mortgage officer should work with the goal in mind of low margin and high volume. The high volume simply shows you how great of a mortgage officer Mr. Braun has been and will continue to be.


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