NGUYEN: UWM’s Unfair Ultimatum ‘Has Divided Our Community’


“As a broker, I believe in choice. A broker is supposed to shop around, look for what’s best for the consumer. I don’t want people to coerce me, I try to have freedom as a broker.”

That’s the view of Thuan Nguyen, CEO of Loan Factory, who talked to The Mortgage Note about the impact on his company and customers from United Wholesale Mortgage’s anti-competition ultimatum one year ago.

UWM’s controversial CEO Mat Ishbia told brokers like the Loan Factory they had to stop working with Rocket Mortgage and Fairway Independent Mortgage if they wanted to keep offering loans from his company. In recent weeks, Ishbia proved his threats were more than mere bullying. He’s taking legal action against America’s Moneyline, a mortgage broker based in Aliso Viejo, Calif. because it continued to work with all loan originators.

Ishbia’s actions have divided the community, Nguyen said. “The whole broker community split up. That created a division in the broker community.”

Nguyen, who was named Scotsman Guide’s No. 1 Top Originator for 2021, said his company had long worked with UWM and Rocket Mortgage. But he refused to accept the exclusivity terms demanded by the company and severed their relationship.

He said while he was able to make the switch, smaller brokers don’t always have the technology to do that after a long relationship with specific lenders.

“For a broker to switch (to a new lender), it’s not easy,” Ngyuen said.

And now UWM has made it personal.

Because of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts’ close relationship with UWM, Nguyen ended his relationship with that organization as well. But after receiving personal invitations from their CEO Brendan McKay to attend its Hall of AIME event Nguyuen paid the $1,000 registration fee and booked a trip to Florida.

Two days before the event, however, Nguyen’s invite was dropped and he was unceremoniously turned away. According to National Mortgage Professional, Nguyen received a call from AIME’s director of membership, Candace Morris, saying he couldn’t attend because he is not working with all of AIME’s partners.

He was told the specific “partner” in question was UWM.

Nguyen is out the cost of a trip, but he says the real impact of UWM’s ultimatum is on borrowers who expect the best possible price and service from the brokers they work with. UWM’s ultimatum limited his company’s ability to shop around, as it doesn’t have to compete for the best loans anymore due to limited options, Nguyen said.

When the ultimatum was issued last year, many industry leaders rejected it as “unethical and uncompetitive.”

Okavage Group LLC, a Florida real estate broker filed a federal lawsuit against UWM and Ishbia over the new rule, alleging the ultimatum was issued its ultimatum “in a desperate attempt to stifle competition” and to “mitigate its acknowledged risk of losing market share.”

It also claims Rocket and Fairway, UWM’s main competitors were able to grow their share by offering “better pricing and lower rates” to mortgage brokers.

The lawsuit is currently pending in court.