Scotsman Guide Featured Top Originator: Rodrigo Ballon
CMG Financial, No. 31 Top Dollar Volume (2014)
By Will McDermott, editor, Scotsman Guide Residential Edition
Rodrigo Ballon’s versatility has put him near the top of multiple lists in our Top Originators 2014 rankings. His $26.9 million in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans placed him at No. 9 on the Top FHA Volume list, and his $129.7 million total volume made him No. 31 on the Top Dollar Volume list.
In what can only be described as a down year for the mortgage industry, Ballon amazingly bucked the trend, maintaining his total production volume, even with a slight increase of $1 million. As a result, he jumped five spots on our FHA list and 22 spots on our total volume list over his 2013 rankings.
Ballon attributes his success in 2014 to working harder and taking advantage of other originators dropping out of the market.
“When people fall out, you have to be aggressive and reach out and set more appointments with Realtors,” says Ballon. “If the numbers go down for everyone else, you take advantage of that and go after the power-hitter Realtors and see what you can do to support their business.”
This strategy makes sense for Ballon, who has built his career on purchase loans. In the past three years, more than 87 percent of his business has been from home purchases. This focus — and a purchase volume of more than $104 million — landed him the No. 18 spot on our 2014 Top Purchase Volume list.
“I’ve always been 100 percent focused on purchases,” he says, “because purchases are what brings you referrals in the long term.” By focusing on the purchase market, Ballon says he has the opportunity to get multiple referrals from every deal by contacting the real estate agents on both sides of the deal as well as the client. This strategy has worked well for Ballon, whose total volume has risen from $83 million in 2012 to almost $130 million in 2014.
In addition, Ballon is hitting these big production numbers without focusing on jumbo loans. This is evidenced by his positions in our FHA and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) lists, No. 9 and No. 22, respectively. These two loan types made up more than 50 percent of his total volume for the year.
“I love FHA loans and VA loans,” says Ballon, who claims that FHA loans are popular in San Diego as well as sections of Los Angeles. Ballon also gets real satisfaction out of helping veterans. “It’s the biggest blessing to help them out and get them into the right place,” he says.
The future seems bright for Ballon, who got his start only 10 years ago as an assistant to a broker before venturing out on his own right before the housing market collapsed. He says he ate a lot of Top Ramen and burritos in his first few years as a loan officer.
Today, Ballon is one of the top producers in the nation and looking to reach even higher. “I’m looking forward to 2015,” he says. “In just Q1, I’ve done what I probably did in the first six months of last year.”