Mat Ishbia just provided rocket fuel to his war with Rocket Mortgage.
The United Wholesale Mortgage CEO announced Thursday that his company will no longer work with brokers who do business with Rocket Mortgage or Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
“Starting today, we are not helping those that help them. If you work and send loans and send business to Fairway Independent or Rocket Mortgage, which by the way is about 25 percent of the brokerage channel works with either of them. … If you work with them, can’t work with UWM any more, effective immediately,” Ishbia said on a Facebook Live. “I can’t stop you, but I’m not going to help you, help the people that are hurting the broker channel. We don’t need to fund Fairway Independent or Rocket Mortgage to try to put brokers out of business.”
Ishbia charged the two companies with “hurting the wholesale channel.” He accused Wisconsin-based Fairway Independent of “criticizing brokers … and not doing right by the broker channel,” while saying Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage is working with realtors to “circumvent brokers.”
Rocket Mortgage was quick to respond.
“The incredible growth of Rocket Pro TPO, which had a 125 percent increase in business in 2020, clearly has Shore Mortgage very concerned,” said Austin Niemiec, Executive Vice President of Rocket Pro TPO. “Today’s move decimates the idea of the free and open market that is so critical to the broker community. We continue to advocate for the right of brokers and consumers to choose how they secure home financing. We do not support restricting consumers’ options – whether it is through economic and social pressure or intimidation tactics.
“As we have said repeatedly, a broker’s power is in their ability to choose the best option for their client. By attempting to manipulate the market and have loan officers swear allegiance, sacrificing control as business owners to one company – with financial penalties if they stray –you harm their ability to compete. This move only benefits one company, to the detriment of thousands in the broker community and their clients.
“At Rocket Pro TPO, we will continue to invest in our broker partners, like we did with our national broker directory and Super Bowl campaign. In 2021, we have committed more than $100 million to broker technology and will be investing more than $1 billion in marketing campaigns to help raise awareness for Rocket technology and the experience that independent mortgage professionals can leverage.
“We value the role of competition in the marketplace. It brings innovation and a better experience to the table. We look forward to expanding our growing portfolio of broker partners in the weeks, months and years to come.”
UWM’s announcement comes a little more than a month after Rocket announced a new national broker directory on its website – allowing homebuyers and homeowners seeking to refinance to find local independent mortgage brokers to guide them through the process.
Part of Rocket Pro TPO, the directory is designed to deepen Rocket Mortgage’s partnership with the broker community. The Detroit Free Press reported that Rocket, the nation’s No. 1 mortgage lender, “trails UWM in the key category of underwriting loans for independent mortgage brokers.”
The Free Press reported that about one-third of the company’s $320 billion in mortgage originations last year came from brokers. That compares to UWM’s $182.5 billion in originations through brokers, which accounts for all of its business.
In his Facebook Live, Ishbia said he is asking all brokers he does business with to sign an agreement by March 15 not to do business with Fairway or Rocket.
The Association of Independent Mortgage Experts – which is closely tied to UWM and Ishbia – voiced support for the policy.
“Work with TRUE lender partners. Let’s strengthen the challenge,” AIME said in a Facebook comment.