Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., a Sun Prairie, Wis.-based mortgage banker, announced originated $2.55bn in mortgages in 2009 through September, its highest annual volume in the company’s 14-year history and up 67% from the year through September 2008. “Our growth is attributed to several factors, including recent interest rate drops, lower home prices, the Federal Housing Tax Credit for first-time buyers, and a very professional sales team,” CEO Steve Jacobson said. “In addition, our decisions to stay clear of risky loans when they were popular and to get early FHA approval helped paved the way for us to reach this milestone.” The company said it will hire additional branch managers and loan officers and conduct more business in person, rather than over the phone or on the Web to capitalize on the momentum of the increased business. “Meeting borrowers in person is essential in earning their trust,” Jacobson said. “It provides not only comfort for our customers, but a sense of value in knowing they are working with professionals. Lending has returned to the basics, and we feel that in-person consultations are essential – along with providing loan documents early to our title companies, and attending closings in person.” Write to Austin Kilgore.