Opinion: AS UWM Slashes Jobs, Ishbia Stands By ‘No Layoffs’ Claim

By JARED WHITLEY Despite Mat Ishbia’s repeated claims that his company, United Wholesale Mortgage, has never laid anyone off; the facts – and common sense – belie his statement, as UWM’s employee count is down 30 percent over the past two years. “While my competitors are cutting investments and laying off thousands and thousands of people, we continue to invest in technology, take care of our people, and have never laid off a single team member in our 37-year history,” Ishbia said at a recent webcast townhall. But, according to the company’s annual report filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, UWM slashed its workforce by nearly a third – from a height of 8,600 in January 2021 down to…

Rocket Pro TPO Takes Aim At UWM Ultimatum With “Bully Shield”

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The executive vice president of Rocket Pro TPO told brokers across the country on Monday that they are willing to indemnify those who choose to fight United Wholesale Mortgage’s anti-competition ultimatum. During a live-streamed Ignite Live event, Mike Fawaz said he believes the ultimatum was one of the worst things to happen to independent mortgage brokers in 50 years. “The ultimatum uses lawyers and contracts to limit choice – both for the broker and for the clients the broker services,” Fawaz said. “There’s no other way to put it – the ultimatum is immoral, reduces broker incomes, and increases the rates the clients of brokers will pay.” Fawaz said that they stand behind brokers who want to…

Andrew Hubacker Named UWM CFO

Andrew Hubacker has been named Chief Financial Officer at United Wholesale Mortgage, the company announced in a press release. Hubacker is taking on the role immediately. As CFO, he will oversee the company’s finances, including accounting, reporting, compliance, tax, treasury, budgeting, forecasting, and liquidity management. “I’m humbled to be named UWM’s Chief Financial Officer,” said Hubacker.  “From helping to take the company public through the largest SPAC in history, to becoming the #1 overall mortgage lender in the nation, my experiences at UWM have been nothing short of extraordinary. The positive mindset and service mentality every single team member and leader have here is truly unmatched. I’m eager to continue elevating and enhancing the role and capabilities of our finance…

Guild Offers New Rate Buydown Program

Guild Mortgage is rolling out a new rate buydown program, the company announced in a press release. The program, Payment Advantage, applies to any borrower locking in a conventional mortgage. Guild will then pay 1% of the borrower’s interest rate for one year. The borrower’s monthly payment will increase after that period, but they may then be eligible to refinance. The program is available until March 31, 2023. “Freddie Mac reported that the average commitment interest rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.90% in October, more than double the rate of 2.96% across all of 2021,” said Guild CEO Mary Ann McGarry. “With the rising costs of loans in today’s increasingly competitive housing market, we want to continue…

UWM’s Ishbia Offers Stipends To Female Athletes A Year After Men’s Program

Last year, United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia raised eyebrows when he promised generous stipends to 133 Michigan State University men’s basketball and football players.  Ishbia paid each player, regardless of position, $500 per month in exchange for marketing UWM on their social media pages. NCAA athletes had long been banned from receiving such payments while playing college sports. But the conference changed its player compensation rules last year to allow student-athletes to sign endorsement deals on their own Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). MSU players will receive a $500 monthly payment for a total of $6,000 over the year, regardless of position. While fans of MSU’s men’s sports cheered the move, Ishbia faced backlash from critics over the exclusion…

Ishbia Beaten Out in Bronco’s Ownership Bid by Walmart Billionaire

Mat Ishbia’s bid to become part-owner of the Denver Broncos got sacked by the deep pockets of Rob Walton, an heir to the legendary Walmart fortune. But that doesn’t mean the hard-charging – and sometimes controversial – Chief Executive at United Wholesale Mortgage is out of the game. “I do love sports and … one day in the future would I want to own a sports team? I would say yes,” Ishbia told Crain’s Detroit Business last year.  Not a surprising stance for a CEO who’s built his brand around his status as a walk-on member of Michigan State University’s 2000 championship basketball team. But his big-dollar backing of men’s MSU athletics may actually hinder Ishbia’s hopes of entering the exclusive…

Work From Home Debate Heats Up Again In Mortgage Industry

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The president of a reverse mortgage company is claiming that Elon Musk’s message to Tesla employees unfairly bashes the benefits of remote work and that since going fully remote in 2020 his company has been voted by its employees as a top place to work. Musk is demanding that Tesla office workers return to in-person work or leave the company. “Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla. This is less than we ask of factory workers,” Musk wrote in leaked emails. Although Tesla is an automotive and clean energy company, news of Musk’s demands sparked a new…

UWM Pays $2.7M to Settle Overtime Lawsuit

United Wholesale Mortgage has ended one of its ongoing legal battles by paying $2.7 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the company unfairly treated its employees, including forcing them to work overtime without pay. In a letter to employees, UWM executive vice president Allen Beydoun claimed the company did nothing wrong and workers should not expect the culture inside the nation’s largest wholesale mortgage lender to change.  “While we are extremely confident that our account executives were and are fairly and accurately compensated for the work and time dedicated to their business, UWM chose to stop spending additional time and money with attorneys,” Beydoun wrote. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the arbitrator made no ruling on…

Morning Roundup (3/3/2022)– Loan Factory’s Nguyen Says UWM Ultimatum ‘Has Divided Our Community’

Good Morning! Today is Thursday, March 3. Russia has continued to attack major cities in Ukraine, creating a humanitarian crisis. The Jan. 6 committee said there was evidence to conclude that Donald Trump may have committed crimes to try to stay in office. Fitbit is recalling its Ionic smartwatch after reports of overheating batteries. The Mortgage Note Reports Loan Factory’s Nguyen Says UWM Ultimatum ‘Has Divided Our Community’: In a one-on-one interview with The Mortgage Note, Nguyen explains why he chose to stop doing business with Mat Ishbia’s company rather than agree to it’s ‘All In’ ultimatum. Weak App Activity: Mortgage loan application volume fell 0.7% last week, faring slightly better than the prior week’s 13.1% drop but continuing a trend…

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

By DARIA BACHMANN “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…