Rocket Announces Leadership Changes

Rocket Mortgage announced several leadership changeups, including a new title for Jay Farner, the company announced. Farner, currently Vice Chairman and CEO of Rocket Companies, will now have the title of CEO for Rocket Central, the hub for the Rocket Companies fintech platform. The title change will not impact his role at the company, allowing him to “continue driving the growth of the entire ecosystem from mortgage and real estate to car sales and personal finance,” according to the statement. The former CEO of Rock Central, Angelo Vitale, will now focus exclusively on his role as General Counsel and Secretary at Rocket. Rocket Mortgage veteran Bob Walters will take over the role of Rocket Mortgage CEO. Prior to this promotion,…

UWM Under Investigation in Wake of COVID Complaints

Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage is under scrutiny from both state and county health officials in the wake of complaints about the company’s handling of COVID-19, a Detroit TV station is reporting. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Director Bart Pickelman confirmed to The Mortgage Note Wednesday that his agency has received 50 complaints against UWM since November 1, 2021.  “MIOSHA currently has one open investigation and other investigations that are currently progressing through the appeals process. MIOSHA cannot provide information on an open investigation,” Pickelman said. And the Oakland County Health Department has also received numerous complaints about UWM, leaving health officials concerned amid the county’s soaring infection rate.“The test positivity rate in Oakland County is 25.5%. It’s the highest it’s ever…

Rocket Mortgage Volunteers Win TMN’s ‘Santa’s Helper’ Charity Contest

Across the country, mortgage professionals step up to help those in need every holiday season so we at The Mortgage Note decided to celebrate organizations and their employees who recognize the importance of giving back to their communities. On November 30, we started a contest asking members of the mortgage industry to submit photos and a brief description of the charity work they’re doing this year. The winner would earn a $1,000 donation from TMN to their highlighted charity. Valerie Pesonen, a senior manager in public relations at Rock Central, sent in a submission for Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, Michigan that warmed our hearts. Pesonen highlighted three community outreach programs the company participates in, including the Rocket Mortgage Cause Campaign…

Guaranteed Rate Names New Divisional Managers

Guaranteed Rate has appointed two new Divisional Managers, the company announced in a press release. Ryan Ogata, who joined Guaranteed Rate in 2017, has been named Divisional Manager overseeing the Northwest market, including Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. Ogata previously served as a regional manager. Guaranteed Rate’s loan volume in Northern California rose more than 600% in the four years since he joined the company. “Guaranteed Rate offers best-in-class technology, service, and sales leadership, which allows our teams to expand their presence in our markets and better serve homebuyers throughout the entire mortgage process,” said Ogata. “I’m excited to continue recruiting and developing top talent in sales and operations.” Tim Sorenson, who also joined the company in 2017, has…

Divvy Homes Joins zavvie’s Brokerage Marketplace

Divvy Homes and zavvie have teamed up to bring Divvy’s rent-to-own program to zavvie’s expanded brokerage marketplace, the companies announced in a statement. Divvy Homes, a property-technology startup valued at $2 billion, provides a rent-to-own buying option to real estate brokers and agents. Through the program, buyers pay rent on a home to Divvy, part of which is put aside to save for a downpayment. When buyers have saved enough for a 10% downpayment, they can then buy the home from Divvy. The program is currently available in 16 major metros. “The path to homeownership is more challenging today than ever before,” said Divvy Homes Co-Founder and CEO Adena Hefets. “Divvy is leveling the playing field by accelerating one’s ability…

FinLocker Names Andria Thomas SVP, Product

Fintech company FinLocker has named Andria Thomas as Senior Vice President, Product. “As FinLocker continues to build market traction and looks ahead to the next three to five years, we recognize the need to add more consumer understanding and leadership to our team,” said Prabhakar Bhogaraju, FinLocker Executive Vice-President, Head of Strategy and Product Development. “Andria Thomas brings a wealth of experience in product management in a direct-to-consumer setting and in management consulting. She is also a passionate advocate for financial health, equity, and inclusion. I am excited to have Andria join us and lead all things product here at FinLocker.” In the role, which is a new position within FinLocker leadership, Thomas will lead innovations in the FinLocker app.…

Zillow Is Rebounding With Home Sales And Stock Buyback

Zillow announced it has sold about half of its backlog of homes and will begin buying back stocks after shuttering its home-flipping arm, Zillow Offers. In a statement, the company said it had already sold or agreed to sell more than half of its properties, hitting a much faster pace than expected. “We are pleased with the progress of our wind-down efforts and recognize that no longer operating Zillow Offers will allow us to have a more capital-efficient balance sheet and business moving forward,” Chief Executive Officer Rich Barton said in the statement. “We see today as an opportune time to announce a share repurchase program.” Zillow had initially announced it would not buy more homes in 2021, and instead…

Ex-MBA President Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Fannie Mae

Ronald McCord, former Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) president and founder of Oklahoma City-based First Mortgage Company (FMC), pleaded guilty to a slew of charges including defrauding Fannie Mae. McCord, 71, was indicted by a grand jury in June 2020, with charges including bank fraud, money laundering, and making false claims to a financial institution. McCord pleaded guilty to five of the twenty-four charges. McCord served as MBA president in 1997, at which time the position was a volunteer role. In the plea hearing, McCord admitted to defrauding Spirit Bank, Citizens State Bank, and their respective residential mortgage subsidiaries. An independent audit showed McCord had sold more than $14 million in loans “out of trust,” failing to repay when certain loans…

SFRhub.com Partnering With Altisource

SFRhub.com has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Altisource, with the goal of creating an online marketplace for SFR and BFR properties. The collaboration is intended to give SFRhub.com, a real estate investment platform specializing in single-family residential (SFR) and Build-For-Rent (BFR) investment portfolios, a “one-stop” platform for investors to buy and sell homes. Altisource, a data and residential real estate services provider, will supply information and services to the platform. “SFRhub.com’s collaboration with Altisource will provide SFR/BFR investors with the first-to-market, ‘one-stop’ solution to expertly buy and sell homes in one of CRE’s most fast-paced and hottest asset investment segments,” said Jeff Cline, executive director and principal of SFRhub.com.  “We believe this multi-platform collaboration is truly one of the…

Criticism Continues as UWM’s Ishbia Increases Commitment to MSU Athletes

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Mat Ishbia is helping to privately fund a new contract for the Michigan State University football coach, who was the punchline of many jokes on social media last weekend after his team lost to Ohio State in a blowout game. The Detroit News confirmed from a source close to negotiations last week that coach Mel Tucker and officials at Michigan State University were closing in on a new 10-year, $95 million contract that would make him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football. That agreement was made possible by financial commitments from Ishbia and Shift Digital CEO Steve St. Andre. After the embarrassing 56-7 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, Sports Illustrated reported some Michigan…