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Hot Seat: Austin Niemiec of Quicken Loans on partnering with mortgage brokers

Providing game-changing technology ensures broker success

HousingWire sat down with Austin Niemiec, executive vice president of Quicken Loans Mortgage Services, to discuss the secret to the company’s success, the state of the mortgage industry and how mortgage brokers can benefit from utilizing technology to maximize efficiency and grow their business.

HousingWire: Why does QLMS partner with brokers and what have the results been from these relationships?

Austin Niemiec: Quicken Loans works with a lot of people who want to get their mortgage online or over the phone, and they do a great job of helping those folks. However, there’s also a big segment of the market that prefers face-to-face contact or local lenders.

QLMS partners with brokers, credit unions and regional banks to provide them access to our award-winning technology and processes so they can focus on building and maintaining the relationships with their clients. With our help, loan originators can close more loans with less overhead, and differentiate themselves from their competition.

Our process is clearly one that our partners appreciate, and it’s gaining serious momentum in this space.  We’ve doubled the number of partners in the last year, growing from 2,500 to over 5,200. They are also taking advantage of our industry-leading pricing and the high-level service we provide.

Because of all of this, we’ve seen a 230% year-over-year increase in loan volume when comparing Q2 2018 to the Q2 of 2019.

HW: You mentioned providing technology and other services. Can you elaborate on how you support your partners?

AN: One of the things we’re very excited about is our Pinnacle Program, which was launched in July 2018 as an exclusive program for our top partners. These partners have first access to the newest and most innovative tools, resources, expertise and marketing to help them grow their mortgage business.

When Pinnacle launched last summer, it had 28 partners. By August 1st of this year, the program now stands at 320 partners.

HW: What do you consider to be the secret sauce you can give brokers who partner with you?

AN: This industry is more competitive than ever.  I think technology and expertise are most key as borrowers and Realtors are looking for speed and reliability.

One of our powerful tools at QLMS is “The Answer.” It’s a multi-million-dollar technology platform we give our partners, for free. Think of it like having an underwriter at your fingertips at all times. Instead of thumbing through hundred-page guideline packets, or calling underwriters during business hours for answers, we’ve taken all the brainpower of our best experts and put them into a search tool that provides clarity in seconds, 24/7, 365.

You ask it questions, it gives you answers. Every day we see examples of partners approving loans that would have been denied because they checked The Answer and quickly learned of changes to the guidelines for the loan product they were offering.

Our technology also speeds up the process and makes things more transparent for loan officers. For example, we are unique in the fact that we take care of third-party vendor items for our partners, like VOEs, payoffs, homeowners insurance, etc.  Not only do we do the heavy lifting, we provide 24/7 status visibility of these items on our portal. We do the work, and partners are in the know all the time.

This ensures that loan officers are communicating real time info to clients and realtors, creating a better experience, and increasing repeat business. We’re seeing successful closings also lead to more referrals for our partners because their clients see them as their go-to mortgage resource. It’s a winning formula.

HW: What do you see as the ideal relationship between lender partners and Quicken Loans?

AN: Our goal is to provide intense support for our partners by delivering game-changing technology, incredible efficiency/visibility into the loan process, competitive interest rates, and world class AEs.

When we do this, it allows our partners to spend their time and energy doing what they do best – building great relationships with clients, Realtors and referral sources, ultimately winning them more business.

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