Rocket Pro TPO EVP Talks About Current Successes, Challenges

The executive vice president of Rocket Pro TPO says a lack of housing inventory has been hurting mortgage professionals, but he is confident broker partners and loan officers have the tools to help homebuyers achieve their goals.

Mike Fawaz recently sat down with Editor Kimberley Haas to talk about this year’s successes and challenges.

Haas: Mike, so it’s great to have you here today as always. What have been some of the successes in this past year working with the Rocket Pro TPO team?

Fawaz: First of all, thanks for having me and I’m excited to have this conversation with you. When I think about the successes of Rocket Pro TPO this year with the broker channel, it’s been a great year so far.

When it came to credit report fees, we all saw an increase. As a broker partner, you saw an increase in the market anywhere between $75 to $125 in credit report fees, so one of the things that we did as a commitment to the broker community is went out there and said, “You know what? As a broker partner of Rocket Pro TPO, we’re going to cover your credit report fees when you pull credit in the portals.”

We felt like in a market like this we needed to make sure that we have the broker partner’s and the broker community’s backs. I’ll tell you this is by far one of the most incredible things the brokers have seen from us. We’re hearing a ton of feedback.

I mean if you think about it, if you’re a broker partner, you’re pulling credits anywhere between 20 to 100 per month. That is extra money towards your bills, extra money towards your rent, extra money towards buying leads. There’s so much there, but it doesn’t stop with that.

We’ve rolled out products. When you think about the market and home affordability, we have ONE+.

Haas: Tell us how that 1% down program is going. I know made quite a splash in the industry.

Fawaz: The feedback has been incredible so far. The broker community is excited. Our real estate friends and partners are also excited.

When I have conversations with brokers, and I have conversations with their realtors, they’re so excited about this program because it is creating a conversation. When you think about it, it’s a 1% down, 2% covered with Rocket.

It puts the consumer in the position to be able to accomplish their American dream in a market like this.

Haas: Do you think that these programs help to inspire mortgage professionals, especially if it’s a little bit of a harder time? The market is a little tight now.

Fawaz: Oh yeah. When I first talked about this program I said this is a program to engage your current partners or clients that are looking to purchase a home but you better believe it this is a program to reengage the ones that were looking to purchase a home but didn’t want to put the 3% and your 20% down.

It’s a program that does two things. It engages your current clients and really gets them out there to go look for homes and go spend Saturday and Sunday at open houses.

It’s also to reengage the business with your clients that you’ve had conversations with and probably didn’t want to make a move because they didn’t qualify, or they didn’t have the money to put down. Now you can reengage them and have that conversation with them, and yes, it’s been inspiring a lot of realtors and brokers and loan officers, for sure.

Haas: What have some of the biggest challenges been for your mortgage professionals this year?

Fawaz: Look, I often say that the last 16 to 18 months haven’t been very kind to the broker community.

I think some of the challenge today is inventory. Brokers are working again because it’s a purchase market right now.

I speak to brokers that have 50, 60, 75 preapprovals, but there’s no inventory, so I think, really, that’s the challenge.

As far as the market, from an interest rate standpoint, I don’t know if that’s a challenge anymore. I believe that’s just where the market is at and consumers have gotten accustomed to where the market is at. They’re quickly realizing that 5% and 5 1/2% and 6% is the norm today.

So inventory, in my opinion, is really one of the most challenging things today for loan officers and real estate agents.

Haas: Is that something that you’re seeing nationally, Mike, or is it more in certain segments of the country that have been more heavily affected?

Fawaz: I think it’s a national thing. We have more buyers than homes and builders can’t build fast enough and it’s just part of the business.

Haas: Looking at the market for the rest of this year and into 2024, what are some of your projections? I know you don’t have a crystal ball. We wish we all did, but what are you seeing?

Fawaz: I get asked that question a lot and I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are in positions such as myself that are asked, “What do you think the market’s going to do?”

Here’s my answer. Am I seeing an increase in business lately? Yes. I think there is a movement. We’re seeing more and more applications on a daily basis. I do believe that the American consumer has started to understand where the market is at.

It took a minute for someone to understand. “Are you saying you don’t have 3% anymore? No more 2 1/2%? Are you really serious at 6%?”

I think that’s settling and now people understand where the market is at, and I really truly believe as we continue to think about products and as we continue to think about programs such as ONE+ and others, we will be able to continue to push the momentum that is needed in this market.

Now, are we going to see 2021 all over again? I doubt it in 2023. I don’t know when it will happen. I would love to tell you it’s tomorrow. My team would love to hear it’s tomorrow as well, and the broker community, but I don’t know when.

My commitment and my company’s commitment is, how do we continue to create a momentum where people are feeling like, “Hey, you know what, I can go out there and compete. I can go out there and have conversations. I can go out there and pitch ONE+ to really talk about Purchase Plus and programs that are available for everyone to use.”

We have truly a duty to be able to deliver to everyone in America today in a market such as this market.

Read More Articles:

As Rocket’s Jay Farner Retires His Impact Is Remembered

Rocket Rolls Out 1% Down Payment Program

Rocket Mortgage EVP: Addressing Affordability Is A Top Priority