Mortgage Roundup (3/15/21) – The Broker Wars

Good morning! Today is Monday, March 15. The IRS began sending its first round of stimulus checks. Wells Fargo is getting backlash after announcing that its direct deposit customers won’t see stimulus funds in their accounts until March 17. The mayor of Miami Beach says too many people are coming to his town for Spring Break and not wearing masks. 

Today is a big day in the Broker Wars of 2021. This is the day United Wholesale Mortgage says brokers can no longer do business with Rocket Mortgage and Fairway Independent Mortgage if they want to continue work with UWM.

The Mortgage Note has covered the Broker Wars from the start. Here is a quick refresher on how we got to where we are today:

DIRECTORY: On January 27, Rocket announced a new national broker directory on its website – designed to deepen its relationship with the broker community.

WAR: Five weeks later, UWM launches the broker war by banning brokers from doing business with UWM and Rocket (and Fairway).

REACTION: UWM faces significant blowback from industry officials, who call the edict “bizarre,” “unethical” and “anticompetitive,” among other things.

RESPONSE: Rocket accuses UWM of being afraid of their broker outreach, sharing data that shows its market share in the broker industry is growing rapidly compared to industry-leading UWM.

AND MORE: Rocket CEO Jay Farner goes on national television to say UWM’s ban isn’t working, saying Rocket’s broker business is up 40 percent since the war began.

CLARIFYING: UWM clarifies that it will close all loans in process even if brokers don’t sign an agreement not to do business with Rocket and Fairway after The Mortgage Note obtains an email that says otherwise.

Meanwhile, in other banking and mortgage news …

LENDER PROFITS: Fannie Mae’s Q1 2021 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey reported that 52 percent of lenders believe profit margins will decrease, compared to 48 percent in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, 33 percent profits will remain the same and 15 percent still believe profits will increase.

GSE CAPS: Lenders knew Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to cap purchases of single-family homes backed by investor properties and second homes, but didn’t expect it this soon. 

SAME NAME: Michigan State University announced a five-year deal with Rocket Mortgage to be the presenting sponsor of Tom Izzo’s program for the next five years. The school clarified that it will not change the team’s name

LIBOR CHANGEOVER: Chief Financial Officers at major corporations are examining contracts linked to Libor and are discussing replacement options with lenders who bankroll them to fund operations or other expenses.

HOME EQUITY: Four ways to use home equity in your retirement planning

EQUITABLE AI LENDING: A new report that finds artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic lending can play an important role in reducing racial disparities in mortgage lending.

GENX BUYERS: Researchers analyzed 2020 mortgage purchase requests in the nation’s 50 largest metros to identify the leading markets for Gen X buyers – who are in their peak earning years.

HOMEBUYING HURDLES: Buyers not only have fewer homes to choose from, but they need to act fast to succeed.

CRE FORECAST: Forecasts are optimistic for the multifamily, retail, industrial, and office sectors, according to NAR economists.

20% DOWN: Does it still make sense to put 20 percent down when purchasing a home

ORIGINATOR’S JOB: What does a mortgage loan originator do?