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$1 Billion Originator Tells Success Secrets

Mark Cohen offers expertise, service

May 18, 2005

By PAULA PARISOT Mortgage Daily

Customer service, financial expertise and a prime location were among the factors that helped one Southern California mortgage broker exceed $1 billion in funded originations last year.

Mark Cohen, president of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Cohen Financial Group, reportedly closed over $1.35 billion in loan production last year, comprised of mostly A-paper jumbo loans and some HELOCs.

Cohen began his career as a mortgage broker 20 years ago at his mother's side. "My mother began her own mortgage company 25 years ago," Cohen explained. "She was one of the first woman brokers -- back then it was all just banks."

He said the explanation of his success in the mortgage business could be described as dedication, hard work, and knowledge.

Cohen, 45, who reportedly holds a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and a MBA from USC, has the ability to give his clients added value with his knowledge of law and finance.

Aside from his education, he said he has always kept in mind the business advice from other family members, such as his grandfather who worked long hours in the retail business.

"He said to always be very fair and personable," Cohen recalled. "Treat people with respect--how you want to be treated -- it comes back fivefold."

photo of Mark Cohen
Mark Cohen
"No loan is too small, you never know what will come back to you," he added. "It's about service, service, service."

Another factor not mentioned by Cohen is location, location, location. His business is perched among some of the highest-priced properties in the Los Angeles metropolitan area -- a market that has seen 21% appreciation during the most recent 12-month period, according to the National Association of REALTORS, and where half the homes cost more than $475,000.

Cohen, who announced he was ranked as the top originator in the nation last year by Mortgage Originator Magazine, said most of his business comes from referrals and that he sends out weekly rate sheets and a quarterly newsletter to his clients. The only advertising source he utilizes is in a local real estate publication that publishes current home listings.

He said he follows the rules of being fair and making sure everyone is happy in the deal, that way it ensures multiple referral sources, and that he values being a team player -- not to mention being available whenever, wherever.

Cohen, married with three children, is an active member of Sinai Temple, United Jewish Fund, and the LA Philharmonic's board of overseers. His busy lifestyle begins at 7:15 a.m. in the office and lasts some 13 hours. And when he does get a break for a family vacation, he said, business calls and overnight couriers often disrupt it -- and that is what is meant by dedication.

Paula Parisot is a freelance writer for In addition to 4 years' journalism experience at other news publications, Paula has worked in the mortgage industry. Email Paula at: [email protected]

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