If you follow mortgage news, then you’ll recognize his name: Shant Banosian is Guaranteed Rate’s top loan officer nationwide for the past three years, with 1126 closed units and $457.9 million in funded loans in 2017. He has a career volume of over $1.5 billion in funded loans and was ranked as the #3 loan originator in the country by top dollar volume.
The key isn’t in low rates, or all of the other things that everybody else talks about —Banosian said it’s all about execution and differentiation.
One of the ways that he differentiates himself can be seen in his housing market, where deals are closing increasingly faster, and they’re competing with cash offers and offers with waived contingencies. Banosian’s key is to make sure that your realtor partner needs to know that you’re going to deliver on that mortgage, so that they’re not stuck with a client who is at risk of losing their deposit, getting caught up in litigation, and/or losing the home altogether.
“You’ve got to be able to deliver on the promises you’re making in terms of closing quickly and the quality of work and understanding your guidelines, and I think that’s really, really important right now because it is hard to get an offer accepted. If you can be a person that is going to be the difference between their offer getting accepted and not accepted, because of your skills, your reputation, your quality, that’s the type of people that realtors want to work with.”
While some originators are figuring out how to survive in the current environment, Banosian doesn’t think that everyone will.
“I do think that your loan officers across the country who are doing 1-3 loans likely are going to disappear or go out of business,” he said. “For the people that are doing business or growing their business, or even able to stay, they should be able to go and grab market share.”
And if you’re going to stay and capture market share, one thing is for sure – you have to implement the right technologies that will enable you to stay competitive. The 30-day closing isn’t really a big deal anymore, and it’s increasingly important to be able to move faster and close loans in as few as 15 days.
“You’ve got to use this as an opportunity to really integrate technology, because a lot of really, really great technology is coming out across the entire industry, and I think it’s really important to understand those things, master them and implement them, just make your process more efficient, make your time more efficient,” Banosian said.
In general, Banosian has transformed his team to run it much more like a complete business, and that includes having separate functions amongst sales, business development, marketing, operations, customer service, and client retention. Most loan originators are really focused on driving in new business, he said, whereas his team is treating has started functioning as an entire company within a company. “We’re much more businesslike in our approach and much more strategic thinking and forward thinking,” he said.
When it comes to hiring, Banosian said, people need to be brought on board the minute you feel like your service level is dropping and you’re no longer able to do the proper follow ups. He hires people to adopts the most time-consuming (and least enjoyable) so that he can focus all of his activity on sales, business development, and business building. As the head of a team, there’s a learning curve when it comes to grooming a new hire, as well fostering your own role.
“Leveraging really talented people is important. There’s only so much one person can do,” Banosian said. “I think the biggest mistake that loan originators make is when they hire people, they just assume that that person they hired is going to figure that out and that’s impossible. You’ve got to train them, coach them, give them processes, give them documentation, really set them up in a position to not fail, and also become better at that task than you ever were, so that you never have to go back to it. And then also, they develop confidence, in executing those tasks and you develop confidence in letting those things go.”
One of the reasons why he’s a leader at Guaranteed Rate is because the way he does business fits into their business model, which involves being aggressive in their approach and adaptation of technology. Between these “massive” investments as well as a growing loan officer base, Banosian said that in spite of the current market, which is a little more challenging than it has been in years past, he has a platform that will enable him to grow through any market shifts.
“It’s a really, really exciting time. I can’t remember a point where we’ve had such focus in terms of growth and had such focus in terms of being a disruptor in terms of really differentiating ourselves amongst all the companies out there,” he said.