Atlantic Mortgage Says UWM’s “All In” Lawsuit Unfounded, Never Signed Addendum

By JARED WHITLEY Leaders at a mortgage broker caught up in litigation over United Wholesale Mortgage’s “All In” ultimatum say they never agreed to be in an exclusive relationship with Mat Ishbia’s company. Lawyers for UWM filed suit against Atlantic Trust Mortgage Corporation in January, claiming they submitted at least 71 mortgages to rivals Rocket Mortgage or Fairway Independent Mortgage, causing about $355,000 in damages. If Atlantic Trust wanted to work with other lenders, they argued, it needed to submit written notice that it was terminating its business with UWM. That is standard under Ishbia’s ultimatum, which has been controversial since it was introduced in March 2021 because it forces brokers to stop sending loans to Rocket and Fairway if…

AI Advocate Joins Rocket Board Of Directors

Rocket Companies has appointed an AI-oriented independent director to its Board of Directors, according to a press release. The new addition, Alex Rampell, is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz who focuses on fintech investments. Described as a “serial entrepreneur,” he co-founded companies like Affirm, a leader in “buy-now-pay-later,” and TrialPay, a transactional advertising and payments company that was acquired by Visa in 2015. Rampell now promotes the responsible use of AI, which he says will bring about a new era of transformation and disruption in the financial services space. “When I heard [CEO Varun Krishna] speak about the AI tools Rocket is creating, and the massive amount of data at their fingertips, I was simply blown away,” said Rampell.…

December To Remember Is Back For Third Year At Rocket Pro TPO

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Rocket Pro TPO is kicking off its annual December to Remember event and the executive vice president says it will mean more for mortgage professionals this year than ever before. Mike Fawaz and his team announced on Nov. 20 that they will again be spreading holiday cheer this month with wins focused on helping the broker community. He said during an interview with The Mortgage Note this week that due to the state of the market in 2023, brokers and loan officers are hustling to finish the year strong. “To me, this year December to Remember becomes a lot more special than any other year because, for one, December to Remember came to life to help mortgage…

As Rocket’s Jay Farner Retires His Impact Is Remembered

By KIMBERLEY HAAS After a 27-year career, Rocket Companies CEO Jay Farner is retiring this week and he will be remembered as a keen businessman who helped make mortgages more accessible to average Americans as technology pushed transactions out of traditional offices and onto mobile devices. Leaders at the company announced Farner’s retirement on February 13, saying that he had stepped down from his position on the Rocket Board of Directors and would begin transitioning his roles and responsibilities as CEO to longtime Rocket executive Bill Emerson. Emerson will assume the role of chief executive officer on an interim basis on June 1, according to the press release. Farner, who is 50 years old, said in a statement that he…

Rocket Money Co-Founder Talks About New Credit Card

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Leaders at Rocket Companies in Detroit have launched a credit card designed for potential homebuyers and homeowners. Cardholders can earn 5% back – up to $8,000 – to use for closing costs and down payments with the Rocket Visa Signature Card. Homeowners with loans serviced by Rocket Mortgage can use points to receive 2% of their card spending for their unpaid principal balance, according to a press release. The card is integrated with Rocket Money, a personal finance app with more than 3.4 million members. Co-Founder and CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada said since joining Rocket Companies at the end of 2021, they have been able to help users plan for their financial future. “After honing their budgets, we’re…

UWM Successes Subject Of Supplemental Complaint In Ultimatum Suit

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A Florida mortgage broker challenging United Wholesale Mortgage’s ultimatum agreement wants to include recent disclosures and statements related to the company’s successes to help prove his antitrust claims. Daniel Okavage of The Okavage Group in St. Augustine is pursuing a federal class-action suit on behalf of all mortgage brokers that work, or have worked, with UWM and sustained damages after the company’s CEO, Mat Ishbia, announced in March of 2021 they could no longer simultaneously do business with Rocket Pro TPO or Fairway Independent Mortgage. Okavage’s attorney, Robert Goodman, says thousands of brokers were cut off from opportunities to refer customers to the mortgage lender of their choice, resulting in business losses. Lawyers for UWM have moved…

Rocket Launches Credit Card With Homebuyer Rewards

Leaders at Rocket Companies have debuted a credit card with cashback rewards designed for homebuyers. The Rocket Visa Signature Card is the first credit card with rewards created for this purpose, Rocket leaders said in a press release. “Every day, consumers tap their credit card to refill their gas tank, stock up on groceries or pay for any number of other purchases. Now, those transactions can unlock the dream of homeownership for millions of consumers across the country,” said Haroon Mokhtarzada, co-founder and CEO of Rocket Money. “We are proud to offer Americans simple and achievable ways to invest in their financial freedom, whether it’s budgeting with Rocket Money, or redeeming credit card points toward their mortgage down payment or…

With The Holidays Here, Industry Leaders Share What They Are Grateful For

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Industry leaders are sharing their thoughts as 2022 winds down and they are expressing gratitude despite challenges in the current market. Bill Banfield, EVP of Capital Markets at Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, Michigan, said he appreciates the mental stimulation of navigating a tough market because people are forced to get creative in finding solutions for customers. “Your company, your teams, you get to try to figure out how you can help people or how you can improve your company. It’s actually a much more fascinating time than when you’re in a super boom and all you can do is talk about rates and payments,” Banfield said. Banfield had just sat down with The Mortgage Note to talk…

Rocket Announces Exec Leadership Changes

Rocket’s CFO and General Counsel are both retiring, resulting in changes to its executive leadership, the company announced in a press release. Julie Booth, CFO and Treasurer, will be retiring effective November 15. She has been with Rocket Mortgage for nearly 20 years and has served as CFO since 2005. She will be replaced by Brian Brown, currently Chief Accounting Officer. Prior to Rocket, he consulted with financial services companies at EY. “During her time as CFO, Julie has been a tremendous leader in our organization, helping guide our company through significant growth and expansion, culminating with our IPO in 2020,” said Jay Farner, Rocket Companies Vice Chairman and CEO.  “Even more impressive is the tremendous team Julie has built…

Rocket Exceeds Revenue Expectations in Q3

Rocket Companies released its Q3 2021 earnings report, which showed its earnings bested expectations of analysts, despite a serious dip in refinancing activity. Analysts expected Rocket to close out the quarter at 48 cents per share, but the company came out on top at 57 cents per share, an adjusted net income of $1.14 billion. Its adjusted revenue reached $3.2 billion, well above consensus estimates of $2.96 billion. The company’s total revenue rose 96% from Q3 2019. “We had an excellent third quarter, as we executed on our mission to remove friction from life’s complex moments. Our core mortgage business exceeded the high end of guidance for closed loan volume and gain-on-sale margin while achieving record purchase volume,” Rocket CEO…