In 2013, Thuan Nguyen was working out of his chaotic office in the heart of Silicon Valley. You’d find him there from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. At that point, Loan Factory had about 200 loans and just 13 employees. They hustled, too.
“The office was like a market,” Nguyen recalled. “It was so noisy, stuff was everywhere. We couldn’t keep track of things. It was crazy. And now we have 20 times the volume, and people have a peaceful life. And it’s because of the software, because of the technology. Quicken Loans, see how big they are? How much volume they can push through so quickly? I think it’s all because of the technology. They prepared for it.”
Nguyen, who emigrated from Vietnam to the United States and fell into the mortgage business about 14 years ago after leaving an unsatisfying career in finance, has capitalized on the historic mortgage boom like few others. Though plenty of loan originators and brokerage executives are stuffing their pockets with cash, his approach is rare – he personally develops his own software and sells it to other brokerages.
Nguyen, who claims to be on track to personally originate $1.5 billion in volume this year, is in full expansion mode. His West Coast-centric operation is moving through the Gulf into Texas, Florida and following the Stream into Edison, New Jersey, a community with a fast-growing South Asian population. It’s part of his business thesis – investing in upwardly mobile communities where homeownership is a cultural value. He now has 12 offices, and he plans to open 10 additional offices by the end of 2021.
HousingWire caught up with Nguyen to talk about the up-and-downs of brokerage, clearing $1 billion in originations this year, the IPO craze, how to transition from a refi market to purchase market, and developing bespoke technology for brokers.