Top-producing loan officer Christopher Keelin has taken his 80+person team over to CrossCountry Mortgage to “take advantage” of the lender’s technology while scaling his business.
Keelin, who has more than 15 years of experience, joined CrossCountry in April from New Jersey-based Family First Funding, where he spent more than six years and was the company’s rainmaker. (HousingWire first reported in March that Family First was acquired by Annie Mac and Keelin was transitioning to CrossCountry.)
In 2022, Keelin and his team closed $827 million in volume, with Keelin originating $322 million alone. He ranked 18th on Scotsman Guide‘s 2023 top LO list.
Competitive mortgage rates, products, services, and ultimately, being a servicing company are factors that appealed to Keelin when bringing his team to the Cleveland, Ohio-headquartered lender, he said.
“I wanted to take advantage of technology, systems to really provide like proficiency in our business, [and] the ultimate thing for me was to be able to scale the model, because we have a model that we go by, and we live by, which is the three C’s – cost-effective, communication, consistency,” Keelin said in an interview with HousingWire.
Being a consultant has helped Keelin retain and grow his client base, especially in his main markets of New Jersey and Florida.
For instance, if his client is putting 5% down as down payment and the property is under-appraised, Keelin would have a “fluid conversation” of all the possible scenarios.
“[If] the person is putting 20% down, we’re also having forward education with them that says, ‘As long as the house appraises within 15% of the purchase contract, then you’re at a 95% LTV, the negative is PMI, but we get you into the house are you comfortable,’” Keelin said.
Another strategy Keelin advises his team members is to have a diversified portfolio, targeting both first-time buyers and investors.
“They (investors) are not scared of interest rates. Interest rates are cyclical,” Keelin said. “So [they are]really focusing on getting that property at this time, because during recessionary periods, inflation periods, the price of goods goes up, which means values go up. So if you wait, what’s the cost of waiting?” Keelin noted.
“I’m always going to be hypersensitive to that first-time buyer, where every dollar makes sense. But there’s also the investor concentration… if you can meet all in the middle, you have a very fluid business model,” Keelin said.
Keelin closed $57 million in volume in the first quarter of 2023. This year, Keelin has a team goal to post $700 million in volume.
“If we continue to do those productive activities and stay in front of people, and are able to brand what we’ve been able to do in the past, as well as with what CrossCountry offers, there’s no reason that we can’t exceed those goals,” Keelin noted.