It’s Good To Be Mat Ishbia

By Elise Daniel

United Wholesale Mortgage is slated to go public Friday. The Wall Street debut will turn Mat Ishbia into a billionaire overnight. 

Ishbia is the 40-year-old President and CEO of UWM, the second-largest mortgage lender in the country. After playing college basketball at Michigan State University, Ishbia joined his dad’s mortgage company, United Shore, in 2003 and worked his way up. Ten years later, his father, Jeff Ishbia, made him president of United Shore’s primary business unit, UWM.  

Ishbia is considered the biggest player in the wholesale sector. He was named one of the “Most Influential Mortgage Professionals Under 40” by National Mortgage Professional magazine in 2019. Merging with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Gores Holdings IV and going public will likely make him even more influential—and certainly more wealthy.

How wealthy?

  • The SPAC merger will be the largest to date, giving UWM a $925 million capital infusion and a public valuation of $16.1 billion.
  • Ishiba is expected to receive 70 percent of the company’s stake, making him the 51st richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
  • His net worth will increase to $11.3 billion, which is more than LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan combined, according to Forbes.

Not bad for a former college basketball player who scored 28 points in his career.

During an economic recession, it’s good to be in the business of debt, and it’s even better to be Mat Ishbia.

UWM is No. 1 in the wholesale mortgage lending space and in 2019, they became the second largest overall mortgage lender in the country. Ishbia has been extremely successful in capturing market share, outpacing banks such as Wells Fargo and Chase – and led only by Rocket Mortgage.

UWM found its niche in the wholesale lending market by partnering with mortgage brokers and offering them ultra-low-rate-mortgages for their customers. Last summer, they offered a 15-year-fixed mortgage rate at a jaw-dropping 1.875 percent interest. 

Housing Wire reported that UWM wants “to entice mortgage brokers who are awash in customers looking to clip 100 points or more on their existing mortgages.” Their low-rate, wholesale business model is performing extraordinarily well, earning them record profits just before their Wall Street debut. 

What has Ishbia done to make UWM so successful? He attributes his success to empathetic leadership based on teamwork, which he writes about in his book, Running the Corporate OffenseLike a basketball coach, he says, he runs his business like a team, focusing on the strengths of his employees and making sure everyone feels valued and respected.

UWM employees will make out well with the company’s IPO. Every employee will receive a minimum of $1,000 in company stock, with higher amounts increasing based on tenure. Many employees will become millionaires. In all, $35 million in shares will be divided up between UWM’s over 7,300 employees.

Can Ishbia keep up his hot streak? With the capital they gain in the merger, he says UWM may invest in technology to keep up with their tech-savvy reputation. He boasts his company’s ability to close loans over twice as fast as the industry average.

But rather than diversify, Ishbia said in a Bloomberg interview that his company is more focused on dominating in their sector, the wholesale mortgage space.  Ishbia is confident they’ll keep growing. “We can continue to grow, especially if you are looking at market share perspective,” he said. 

Ishbia is already looking ahead. According to Housing Wire, the lender expects to introduce a big product in the first quarter, which may be part of the plan to capture more market share. 

It’s certainly good to be Mat Ishbia right now.