Independent mortgage brokers operate in a challenging environment that requires continuous innovation to compete and succeed. United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) recognizes what brokers need and provides the technology and expertise to support their continued success. 

Squeezed between rising interest rates and heightened borrower expectations, brokers need efficient, cost-effective solutions that make the application process easier for consumers.

UWM offers a variety of game-changing innovations to its broker network, including a new borrower link, Blink, that lets independent brokers compete against some of the biggest retail lenders in the market.

The new all-digital loan portal modernizes the way mortgage brokers work with consumers, enabling borrowers to combine the simplicity and flexibility of mobile technology with applying for a home loan.

“Technology and consumer-driven tools are building momentum within the mortgage industry,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of UWM. “With Blink, new homebuyers or existing homeowners will be able to initiate the loan process from any mobile device, in the comfort of their home, on their own time. We’re proud to make this great tool available to brokers throughout America, as we believe that brokers are the best place for all borrowers to get a loan. It is a focus of ours to give brokers access to the best technology tools to compete with the mega retail lenders.”

Blink is a multi-functional portal that allows consumers and brokers to take an application no matter where they are. Borrowers are given the capability to start the loan application process, pull their credit, e-sign documents, verify assets, and track the status of their loans – from anywhere. And Blink is free, easy to set up, and can be fully branded to individual brokers.

 Blink combines two things that borrowers, especially Millennial borrowers prize: digital capability with a human touch. The Accenture North American Consumer Retail Banking Survey in 2016 found that a seamless omni-channel experience is a top concern for borrowers. “Customers demand a digital experience while expecting an option for human interaction during complex transactions, like a mortgage,” the study concludes.  

With Blink, borrowers can complete the mortgage process entirely on their own if they choose, or seek assistance from their mortgage broker at any time. Blink allows brokers to co-browse screens with their clients in real-time to guide them through the process. Additionally, if a borrower wants to meet their broker in person, they can do that and still complete the application online together.

“UWM made it very easy for me to realize the value this tool can bring to my business,” said Jason Davis of Oceans Mortgage. “Offering a smart mortgage application shows UWM’s dedication to advancing technology within the mortgage industry.”

Blink also offers these benefits:

• Brokers can automatically pull borrowers’ credit

• Borrowers can order assets and upload supporting documents

• Brokers can use for 100% of their loans, even the ones that aren’t with UWM

• Borrowers can upload applications 24 hours a day

• Brokers can utilize a customizable ad kit to introduce Blink to customers

INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Blink is just the latest in a long line of innovative products and services that UWM has developed to support its brokers, which is one of the reasons the company is the No. 1 wholesale lender in the country. 

UWM, which has a network of over 7,000 participating brokerage firms nationwide, offers a full range of loan products, including conventional, FHA, USDA, VA, jumbo and non-agency loans, in all 50 states. 

With home prices increasing in almost every market, UWM has taken a proactive approach to making sure brokers have a variety of products to offer borrowers who have good credit and income, but might not be able to afford a large down payment.

In 2016 the company began participating in Fannie Mae’s HomeReady program and Freddie Mac’s Home Possible program, which allow borrowers to obtain a mortgage with as little as 3% down. Then UWM became one of the first wholesale lenders in the country to offer a 1% down payment option in the form of a conventional loan, as opposed to a government-backed mortgage.

UWM rolled out its 1% program in July 2016 to provide eligible homebuyers with a 2% lender-paid down payment that gives consumers a 3% equity at closing. The 1% down program is available to homebuyers in all 50 states with a minimum FICO score of 700 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43%. 

Operationally, the company has streamlined the mortgage process for brokers so that they can deliver a great experience for borrowers. From UWM’s Loan Origination System, EASE, to its e-sign technology and systems to automatically verify income, assets and tax returns, the whole goal is to make the mortgage process as fast and easy as possible.

 

Beyond offering products that streamline brokers’ efforts, UWM has introduced innovative and proven client retention tools aimed at creating more of a true partnership with brokers to grow their business.

UClose puts brokers in complete control of the closing process, taking a loan from clear-to-close to closing in just minutes and putting money on the table in less than an hour. Brokers can create the closing documents and schedule the closing

UConnect keeps brokers connected to their past clients for potential future business opportunities. After a borrower closes a loan through UWM, the lender monitors their future mortgage credit pulls. If they are in the market for a purchase or refinance, UWM provides the lead to connect the broker back to their borrower.

UTrack gives brokers the ability to allow borrowers and real estate agents to check their loan status at any time, similar to tracking a package being delivered through the mail. The open communication this tool encourages repeat business by positioning brokers as the loan expert and trusted partner.

Unite keeps brokers’ clients informed with quarterly custom home mortgage value statements. The email is loaded with valuable information, unique to each borrower, about their home, their loan and market trends. These emails are branded with the broker’s photo and contact information, allowing the broker to regularly stay in touch with clients and increasing the potential for repeat and referral business.

UWM offers:

• A completely doc-less loan process

• Same-day registration and setup

• Instant mortgage insurance approval

• Direct communication with underwriters and closers

• Online CD Tracker that automatically sends CD to borrower

In addition, brokers can access an entire library of customizable marketing materials and valuable services to connect with borrowers through UWM’s Marketing Toolbox. Brokers can utilize customizable flyers, social posts and emails, even generating complete ad kits. 

The Marketing Toolbox is just another way that UWM supports its brokers and their success, providing the expertise to compete with megabanks and retail lenders.

A TEAM APPROACH

Supporting brokers starts with UWM’s approach to hiring and training its team members, which emphasizes the importance of championing clients. The positive atmosphere starts at the top with President and CEO Mat Ishbia, who learned the importance of teamwork as a member and then coach of the Michigan State basketball team under legendary coach Tom Izzo. 

In an interview with HousingWire in 2015, Ishbia explained how the mentality of a winning basketball teams still influences his life.

“One of the things he [Izzo] talked about was don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. As soon as you take a deep breath and think that you’re someone, someone else that has that hunger you used to have is going to run right by you,” Ishbia said. “One of the sayings we had when we won the national championship was ‘never relax’.

“That’s how I live my life today. We’re bigger than we’ve even been. We’re stronger than we’ve ever been, but we’re never relaxing. We have to take it to the next level.”

Since that interview, the company has grown loan volume by 77%, becoming the No. 1 wholesale lender in the country in origination volume for two years in a row. 

Ishbia learned the mortgage business from the ground up, starting as an account executive, and he still regularly spends time coaching team members on the floor. The company puts a premium on learning, and new account executives at UWM go through 200 hours of training prior to working with clients.

Ishbia’s hands-on leadership style translates to a lively atmosphere where people are motivated to deliver outstanding service. UWM’s strategy yields an incredible place to work, a trusted partner for clients, and ultimately, more homeowners.

“Our mission is to champion our brokers’ success and bring them the tools, knowledge and service necessary for them to compete in today’s market,” Ishbia said.

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