Paul Volpe, vice president and senior loan officer at NOVA Home Loans in Arizona, has been in the industry his entire adult life. He treated the company as a family business and he loved his mentor like a brother – that’s because his mentor was his brother, Jon, who had been ranked as the #1 originator in the country multiple times. He taught Paul not only everything he knew about mortgages, but also about integrity in the business, something which Paul puts first to this day.
One of the most impressive things on Volpe’s resume is that he closed more than 1,000 loans in 2017, one of only three originators on Scotsman’s Top Originator 2017 to do so. With that kind of volume, time management is key, as well as having a streamlined workflow, from their in-house processing and underwriting teams. Part of Volpe’s system dictates that, after their first conversation, clients come in for a meeting whether or not they’re under contract.
“We build that immediate human interaction right from the get-go, but also, it saves a lot of time for when they do go under contract. We’re not wasting time because we’re not having them come see us; we’re pretty much ready to go because we’ve already addressed everything upfront,” Volpe said. “You’ve got to have a good system from the front end to the back end. And I’ve got a loan coordinator that will finish up meeting up with my client to sign disclosures so I’m still on the phone originating, I’m not spending 45 minutes just going over general disclosures.”
Volpe’s team still meets with probably 90% of their clients face-to-face, for at least an hour. They’re happy to communicate how their clients prefer, but he credits that initial meeting to their high conversion ratio.
“When you get them in your office and you sit across the table from them and you meet them and you’re face-to-face and you build that human interaction and that trust, I think that’s what sets us apart . . . it’s also less likely that you’re going to lose their business because they don’t trust you or they’re going to shop around.”
Volpe is a journeyman, having been in the business since he was 19 years old. Whenever naysayers start getting down on the current market or the outlook for the industry, he offers a reminder that the industry is a cyclical one, and each cycle sets up prospects for even more business down the line.
“It’s not the end of the world. This is not the first time rates have gone up, we’ve just been spoiled for a very long time with rates being so low. But it also sets up an opportunity down the road for refinances. So you have to look at the big picture there and not panic, and when things get tight, you buckle your belt,” Volpe said. “Those lenders who, all they did was refinances, it’s going to be hard to try to play catch up if they haven’t already been cultivating those relationships. You have to go with the market. There’s an opportunity in every market, and you just need to know where you’re at.”
Volpe is known for is his creative thinking when it comes to matching certain loans with certain lenders, something that he attributes to liking challenges as well as referencing past deals.
“Every deal is a puzzle, and typically when you do that many loans, you’re able to refer back to past puzzles that were similar,” Volpe said. “There are times where I come across a borrower that I’ve never come across, but I’m able to brainstorm with our underwriter or investors that are in-house and find a way to get it done.”
And, he is quick to point out, it’s no longer the case that all loans are created equally. These non-cookie-cutter loans are where an originator can really demonstrate their tenacity and differentiate thenselves from the competition. Creativity is a definite asset as an originator, and Volpe says it “gets his adrenaline going” when his team can turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ and push a deal through, even though it doesn’t always happen.
“Not everybody can get a loan done. It’s not like the old days where you breathe on a mirror and you got a loan. It’s just really taking the time, sit outside the box, brainstorm, find out how to make it work within the guidelines,” Volpe said. “There’s many a time I’ve taken business from other agents because a lender dropped the ball on something and they didn’t think outside the box on something and got the deal done . . . it’s all about problem solving and not panicking in a situation where something comes up. You need to keep your cool and figure out a way to get it done, and usually you can, if you take your time and really be creative about something.”
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