Top Originator: Jennifer Sze Tho went from $0 to $264 million

by Kasi Johnston15 Jan 2020

Jennifer Sze Tho had recently moved to the U.S. from Australia when she landed a new job in mortgage, without having any mortgage experience. In her first year, she quickly climbed the ranks and became not only a top producer within her company, but also one of the top refinance originators in the country.

By the end of 2019, Sze Tho had closed over 550 loans to produce over $264 million in volume.

“It was a steep learning curve, especially when you haven’t had that mortgage knowledge. But it’s a great thing because everyone here challenges and push themselves, so when you have that growth mindset, you can achieve anything,” said Sze Tho.

With a strong market and low interest rates, the refinance market has been booming, but it was Sze Tho’s relatability and transparency that converted those applications to closed loans.

“It comes down to the conversations I’m having with borrowers. At the end of the day, it’s still a human business. Going through the mortgage process is not simple and can be confusing to borrowers, so being comfortable, relatable and explaining the terms has really helped me build trust with the people I work with,” she said.

Rather than pushing a product, Sze Tho said she takes a conservative approach and really emphasizes how clients can save money through refinance. “One thing we try to do is problem solve. There are times when borrowers apply where refinance may not be an option based on original goals, but when we dig a little deeper and ask more questions, we are able to find the best ways to benefit the borrower.”

When it comes to choosing between online lenders, smaller brokerages, and bigger banks, she explains to her customers the importance of having easy to use technology to simplify the process, and has conversations at every step of the way, which builds trust. Sze Tho said that’s commission model—the fact that they’re not commission-based—is also a sticking point for customers.

“We will work with any borrower no matter the loan amount and our clients all get the same experience. We are just here to help them achieve their financial goals,” she said.

For 2020, Sze Tho’s goal is to continue to problem solve and find new ways that’s going to make sense for people to refinance. She also wants to continue building relationships and mastering her communication skills.

“At the end of the day pricing is pricing, but borrowers are going to choose a lender they are going to trust, so those conversations and educating clients can really go a long way,” she said.

As Sze Tho continues to learn and develop new techniques, she hopes to eventually coach and mentor new loan officers as the team grows. Company culture was what drew her to, and with their support and resources, along with the help of experienced colleagues who provided guidance and training, she’s been able to outperform her counterparts by millions of dollars.  

Having that growth mindset should be top of mine to any newbie in the mortgage industry.

“A lot of the reason why people are successful is because they are always willing to go the extra mile. We may not know the answers to everything, but we will find it no matter what it takes and get back to the customer,” said Sze Tho.