How one brokerage found its winning edge

The firm still has an old-school hustle to go with its new approach

How one brokerage found its winning edge

In negotiating a tough housing market last year, technology upgrades yielded the winning edge for Rapid Home Loans LLC.

Rapid Home Loans founders Abe Miri (pictured left) and Alex Abazid (pictured right) were among those recently honored by Rocket TPO as top producers. The company was one of 10 wholesale brokerages so recognized, with an equal number of correspondent lending brokerages also showcased. Overall, the company was ranked 9th in volume and third for refinance.

“It is special to be recognized and get this award, particularly because 2023 was our first full year,” Miri told Mortgage Professional America. “And on top of that, most loan officers would argue that 2023 was probably the hardest one to get through,” he said in reference to the downshifted market last year that was weighted down by high interest rates and inflation.

“There were a lot of people who left the industry,” he said. “I read a stat that at the end of 2023, half of loan officers didn’t renew their license. So, to be recognized at a time when people are closing up shop or getting out of the industry is really a blessing. We’re really grateful.”

Launching amid a storm with a little bit of tech help

Miri and Abazid opened their Detroit-based brokerage shop in July 2022 amid an economic downturn. Miri credited the focus on technology and the call center format of the business as two factors that helped ensure the company’s profitability.

“Technology was a key piece because I always say you can have the best salesperson and best loan officer in the world but if they don’t have the opportunity for someone to say ‘hello’, they’re just not going to write business,” Miri said.

Given the volatility of last year’s market, operating as a call center was all but de rigueur, he suggested: “In 2023, you almost had to be call center style,” Miri said. “You literally had to be on the hunt. And if you weren’t out there finding business yourself, you were going to be in a tough spot.”

To illustrate the value of technology, Miri noted that the company’s dialer put out 156,000 calls in October 2023 compared to 56,000 the following month – yet ended up with greater volume. “We had 100,000 less dials in November but more production through a combination of tweaks and technology that we had in our dialer coupled with getting really premium leads,” he said. “The technology piece is key. More applications and less dials just because of the efficiency of getting people on the phone and keeping them on the phone.”

More production with one-third the calls? Is that even possible? “Only when you have technology set in place,” Miri said. “Normally, you would think you have to hit the phones, you have to have more dials – a numbers game. But that’s how good our technology is. I had to check the numbers – I did a triple take – because I couldn’t believe we had more production, but six figures less in dials out. So that showed us our technology was always moving in the right direction.”

The numbers speak for themselves

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. In 2023, the company closed on 550 loans for volume of $155 million. And with this year shaping up to yield a better market, the company is poised to expand that volume exponentially, he suggested.

“From the projections and what the Federal Reserve is saying, come summertime, maybe fall, there should be movement,” he said. “It will favor those looking into home financing for sure. I think 2024 is definitely going to be a bigger year. I would say we’re probably going to double our production.”

Yet for all the technological wizardry at his disposal, Miri longs to return to old-school ways this year with plans to wear out the shoe leather. “I do plan on hitting more pavement locally,” he said. “There’s a big real estate office next door, and we’ve never even really talked to them. It’s nice to not have to rely on organic business, but it’s something we should always strive for. So, we’re looking to grow a little more organically and definitely still reinvest everything into tech.”

In with the new, indeed. But at Rapid Home Loans, it’s also in with the old-school ways.

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