1st Advantage Mortgage, a Draper and Kramer Company
Numbers are natural for Mark Brannon, whose economics degree and Wall Street bank experience make him stand out in the lending industry. With clients ranging from first-time buyers who utilize down payment assistance to seasoned luxury buyers, Brannon is a go-to expert in helping them identify the best financing for their needs. His awards include being named to his company’s President’s Club for top production each year since 2010, and distinction as a Five-Star Professional in 2015, 2014, and 2013.
A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate, Brannon’s work at an investment firm after college focused on financial planning, until he discovered a passion for lending. He soon became a top-producing loan officer at Charter One Bank, where he was also the youngest loan originator at age 26. “My financial services background, along with my love of networking, really allowed me to excel very early in my career in a difficult profession, which I am thankful for every day,” he says. He later transitioned to Wells Fargo’s Private Mortgage Bank, where he fine-tuned his underwriting abilities. Though 15 years have passed since his start in the field, Brannon makes clear that he is constantly working to stay on top of developments in the industry. “I spend several hours each week studying underwriting guidelines to ensure I fully understand the intricacies of them, and that’s made me a great resource to clients and real estate partners,” he says.
Brannon knows clients expect him to identify the best loan products for their unique needs, so he collaborates with them and their financial advisors to ensure the loans he structures today will be practical tomorrow. “There’s no better feeling after putting the puzzle together than shaking people’s hands at the closing once they receive the keys to their new home,” he explains. Brannon’s approach allows him to quickly preapprove clients, set manageable expectations from the onset, and deliver on his promises. With the cyclical nature of interest rates, he also proactively monitors past loans in the event interest rates drop, so he can help his clients with refinancing opportunities.
When he is away from the office, Brannon enjoys boating, golfing, swimming, and volunteering as a den leader for Cub Scout Pack 348 to spend time with his son. He also belongs to the Illinois Association of Mortgage Professionals, and previously served on the board of the Financial Planning Association of Illinois. While he may have never imagined helping people achieve homeownership would be his career, Brannon could not be happier. “Each day presents new opportunities to excel,” he says, “so I make certain to never let those opportunities pass me by, especially considering they impact people’s lives.”
Thanks to Heidi Seagren for letting us use her beautiful listing for our photo shoots.