Mortgage Daily

Published On: January 12, 2012

2011 Loan Originator Survey

Survey and analysis of the nation’s top-producing mortgage loan officers

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The survey also inquired about the companies at which top originators are employed.

Given the consolidation in the industry in the last few years, looking at the top firms and top originators is more like a movie than a snapshot.

Still, patterns have emerged.

Most of the biggest originators work for large or medium-size companies. They seem to benefit from the resources that these financial services firms can offer, and it is likely that the trend will continue because regulations are going to make it more challenging for small companies to compete.

Firm’s Total Retail Mortgage Loan Volume in 2010
2010 loan volume

Just over 50 percent of the originators in the survey work at non-depository mortgage banks, while the rest are split fairly evenly between mortgage brokers (18 percent), bank-owned or -affiliated mortgage subsidiaries (18 percent), or depository banks’ retail mortgage departments (11 percent).

Type of Employer
Employer Types

More than half of those surveyed work at firms with between 16 and 250 mortgage loan originators. Another 19 percent originate for firms with 500 or more originators.

Combining these details yields a picture of top originators who are working at companies with significant size, depth, and resources. This can present numerous competitive advantages.

For example, firms with direct access to capital often can approve loans more quickly. These firms also have larger marketing and advertising budgets and thus are able to build brand names that help to drive business.

In-house resources. Which internal staffing resources do top originators rely on?

Top originators don’t try to do everything. They know how to focus on the tasks that deliver the best returns: customer retention and knowledge acquisition. When it comes to other tasks, they rely on capable staff members. The idea is to free the originator to build the relationships that lead to repeat business and new referrals.

As an example of how important team members are to top originators, the survey found that 86 percent of top originators have an assistant reporting directly to them (and 69 percent have a full-time assistant). More than half of the originators (57 percent) said their employer pays for the assistants, but 35 percent pay their assistants with a debit from their gross commissions.

Do You Have an Assistant Reporting to You?
loan assistant question

Nearly 38 percent of the top originators indicated that they have an exclusive, full-time processor reporting to them. Another 46 percent have the services of a full-time processor shared with another originator. Very few use a part-time processor, which implies that the need to have a staff member available at all times is critical.

Interestingly, half of the top producers also said they have other originators reporting to them. They are able to handle their management duties while maintaining their high loan productivity.

It should also be noted that when top originators reported their origination volume, they did not include loan officers who reported to them in their own origination data. So while top originators’ production is impressive in its own right, most of them are the hub of a small network of producers who were actually responsible for even greater loan volumes.

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