National Mortgage News recently spoke with some of the most successful loan officers in the nation to figure out their secrets to success. Oren Orken from Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate originated over 100 mortgages worth approximately $32 million in the past year, which placed him at #176 on the annual “Top Producer” rankings. Below are Orken’s personal story, marketing strategy, and some keys to overcoming adversity he’s learned from his years in the industry. If they’ve worked for him, they may very well work for you too.
A Chicagoan through and through, Orken studied at DePaul University on the city’s North Side, earning an MBA with a concentration in real estate finance. He worked at a variety of companies before landing at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate, including Bank of America Home Loans, Wells Fargo, Capital Funding Mortgage Co., and Perl Mortgage. If Orken’s success serves as any guide to aspiring loan officers, the message is clear: it’s OK to hop around from company to company until you find a good fit.
To capture new mortgage business, Orken began co-hosting open houses with real estate brokers. He would read through the list of broker open houses on Mondays and cold call the agents to see if they would let him co-host. Though the majority didn’t say yes, he picked up a couple of agents very quickly and they began sending him regular business.
Because his particular area of service has lots of condos, Orken made himself an expert in the FHA and VA approval and exception process. When realtors have to deal with difficult projects related to condos, he’s become a go-to option.
Orken describes working with a borrower who came to the U.S. from Spain. Because he had to work with human resources officials in Spain during Spain office hours, the project proved quite difficult. Rather than dragging his feet, Orken went above and beyond and helped fund the client quicker than most ordinary cases. The borrower appreciated the effort so much that he came back to Orken three more times—once for a purchase and twice for refinances.
The most valuable lesson Orken has learned in his years as a loan officer is that you must take good care of your team. It’s a symbiotic relationship; when he does his part, his team helps him push his loans through on time so he can deliver to his customers and remain in compliance.
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