Farner: Rocket Broker Biz Up Since UWM Edict

Rocket Mortgages CEO Jay Farner said Thursday that United Wholesale Mortgage’s ultimatum to brokers doesn’t appear to be working.

Farner, appearing on Fox Business News, said that its broker business is up since UWM CEO Mat Ishbia announced last week that it would no longer work with brokers who do business with Rocket and Fairway Independent Mortgages.

“We had a situation a week ago or so where one of our competitors went out and said if mortgage brokers – some of the most important people in the country helping people buy homes – if they did business with us and they did business with our competitor, they would be fined more than $50,000 per transaction,” Farner said.

The result?

“We are up 40 percent in the last week with our TPO broker business,” Farner said. “In the last two days and have been in the top 10 of all originations from the broker business. That’s one of the way we reach homeowners, that’s one of the ways we help people buy homes. I think it speaks to your comment about cancel culture. I think people are done that. People are moving on with quality, value, competition – things that matter in this world.”

UWM’s announcement comes a little more than a month after Rocket announced a new national broker directory on its website – allowing homebuyers and homeowners seeking to refinance to find local independent mortgage brokers to guide them through the process. Part of Rocket Pro TPO, the directory is designed to deepen Rocket Mortgage’s partnership with the broker community.

Rocket said this week that UWM’s decision is driven by “fear” of competition from Rocket, which has gained a larger share of the broker market in recent years.

HousingWire reported Monday that Rocket closed $97 billion in mortgages with brokers last year, making it the second biggest broker partner in the industry behind UWM ($182 billion). Overall, Rocket did $320 billion in mortgage originations in 2020, while all of UWM’s business comes through brokers.