In February, the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts announced its roster of sponsors for the year, saying their involvement “highlights a renewed commitment in the industry to empowering independent mortgage brokers.”
“Sponsorship is a key component to AIME’s mission of supplying innovative and advanced resources that provide our members with the tools they need to build and nurture strong relationships with consumers,” AIME Chairman Anthony Casa said at the time. “We are grateful for the trust and support of the nineteen organizations that are our 2020 sponsors and we are looking forward to putting their investments in our organization to work to support our members.”
Five months later, however, AIME is hemorrhaging key sponsors after the disclosure that Casa sent lewd and misogynist video texts about a Quicken Loans executive’s spouse earlier this month.
So far, AIME has lost two of its three platinum sponsors (Home Point Financial and Caliber Home Loans) – as well as a silver tier sponsor (Flagstar Bank) and bronze sponsor (Plaza Home Mortgage). Meanwhile, its title sponsor (United Wholesale Mortgage) has distanced itself from Casa while still supporting AIME by saying publicly, “Anthony Casa is separate from AIME” – even though Casa is the founder and chairman of the organization.
Here is a look at status of what members have said about their relationship with AIME:
Home Point Financial (Platinum sponsor) suspended its participation with AIME.
“Effective immediately, Home Point is suspending its participation in AIME. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. This does not change our commitment to supporting the independent originator,” Phil Shoemaker, Home Point’s President of Originations, told RedState.
Caliber Home Loans (Platinum sponsor) told HousingWire it was suspending all support of AIME.
“Caliber is committed to the equal and fair treatment of all individuals,” a Caliber spokesperson told HousingWire. “We strive to ensure a safe, professional and respectful environment for our customers and our employees and expect the same from each Caliber business partner who helps families to achieve their dreams. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind in our company or the workplaces of those companies that engage in business with Caliber.”
Flagstar Bank (Silver sponsor) suspended all relationships with AIME.
Susan Bergeson, corporate communications specialist for Flagstar Bank, told RedState, “While we strongly support the broker community and the vision and purpose of AIME, we do not in any way support the recent public words and behavior of its chairman.
“As a company, Flagstar Bank is committed to treating its employees with respect and creating an environment that is free of the kind of harassment, abusive language, and personal attacks made by the chairman of AIME. We expect no less of our business partners. That is why we are taking the step of suspending all relationships with the organization at this time.
“Again, this action does not reflect on AIME as an organization.”
Plaza Home Mortgage (Bronze sponsor) suspended its sponsorship, citing Casa’s “misogynistic behavior,” HousingWire reported Wednesday.
“As a result of the indefensible behavior of AIME’s chairman, Plaza Home Mortgage has decided to suspend its sponsorship with AIME,” a company spokesperson told HousingWire. “This decision reflects our company’s core values; our respect for our associates, clients and the mortgage community and the need for greater civility in our society. Harassment and misogynistic behavior cannot and will not be tolerated by our company in any form.
“Although Plaza fully supports the mission of AIME and its members, we cannot sponsor the organization under its current leadership structure,” the spokesperson continued. “Plaza continues to be dedicated to the goals of empowering brokers and supporting them with the service and choices they deserve.”
United Wholesale Mortgage (Title sponsor) distanced itself from Casa, but said it would continue to support the organization in a statement to HousingWire.
“UWM stands behind AIME and the mortgage broker channel,” a spokesperson for United Wholesale Mortgage told HousingWire. “What AIME has done for the mortgage broker channel over the last two and a half years has provided independent mortgage brokers with a voice, a community, and advocacy beyond anything that has ever existed in the broker channel, even at its peak. As we have always said, anything that helps brokers grow and thrive, we will support.”
“UWM does not support the disturbing comments made by Anthony Casa or condone this type of behavior,” they said. “Sending those messages was an extreme lapse in judgement as Anthony Casa stated in his public apology. Anthony Casa is separate from AIME. UWM and AIME will continue to be partners and we will continue to stay focused on giving independent mortgage brokers access to the tools, technology, and resources to help them be successful.”
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group (Gold sponsor) said in a statement it “will continue to monitor this set of circumstances.”
“As PRMG’s Founder and CEO and speaking on behalf of my partners and entire organization, I was disturbed by the contents of the complaint filed against Mr. Casa. None of this is acceptable behavior,” PRMG CEO Paul Rozo said. “The statements and videos made by Anthony Casa about the spouse of an industry executive are unprofessional, inappropriate, and unacceptable. PRMG and Kevin Peranio stand with the victim in this case, Mrs. Niemiec, as no woman should be subjected to such behavior in or out of the workplace. It is sad to see that this type of behavior continues in our industry and society.
“PRMG is committed to doing our part, both internally and externally, to help eliminate gender inequality and harassment. PRMG has and will continue to remain actively involved in diversity and inclusion focused organizations including PRMG’s very own Women’s Advisory Counsel, NAHREP, NAREB, NAMMBA, AREAA and support their efforts as we have always done.”
Rozo added, “PRMG as an organization will continue to monitor this set of circumstances and evaluate with careful consideration the most appropriate path forward.”
AFR Wholesale (Gold sponsor) continues to support AIME, with the company’s president calling Casa’s statement “unfortunate.”
“The comments made by Anthony Casa are unfortunate, and he has already publicly apologized, taken ownership and condemned his own comments,” AFR Wholesale President Laura Brandao told HousingWire. “AIME has grown to be a strong, vital organization created for, and fueled by, brokers. Its mission has not changed, and AFR will continue to support the organization.”
Here are the sponsors AIME announced in February:
Title Sponsor: United Wholesale Mortgage.
Platinum Sponsors: Home Point Financial; Caliber Home Loans; Franklin American Mortgage: A Division of Citizens Bank
Gold Sponsors: AFR Wholesale; PRMG, Inc.; and REMN Wholesale
Silver Sponsors: Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions; CF Wholesale; Deephaven Mortgage; Equity Prime Mortgage; Flagstar Bank
Bronze Sponsors: Finance of America; FundLoans; Plaza Home Mortgage; RCN Capital