Fairway shuts down wholesale channel

The nation’s ninth-largest mortgage originator will pivot entirely to a retail lending model

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., the nation’s ninth-largest mortgage originator, announced Friday that it would be closing its wholesale channel and pivoting entirely to retail.

“The people who have run Fairway’s Wholesale Department are some of the most talented, humble people in the business and will be a huge value add at their next mortgage home,” Fairway CEO and founder Steve Jacobson said in a statement. “We want to thank our entire amazing wholesale team for its dedication and professionalism over the years. We are simply making a business shift, nothing more, nothing less, in order to focus on our core business to ensure that we continue providing the best customer experience going forward.”

According to data from Inside Mortgage Finance (IMF), Fairway originated about $1.5 billion in broker business through the first nine months of 2023. By contrast, the Wisconsin-headquartered lender did about $18 billion in retail loans during the same time period.

Although wholesale has never been a big book of business for Fairway, rival lender United Wholesale Mortgage’s “All-in” ultimatum, which barred brokers from sending business to Fairway and Rocket Pro TPO while still sending loans to UWM, likely hurt growth prospects.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many jobs would be shed in the restructuring.

Fairway originated roughly $27.5 billion in mortgages in 2023, ninth-most in America, according to IMF estimates. That figure represented a 34.5% decline from the prior year. Still, that was better than the average top 50 originator, which took average production hit of 40.6%.

The broker channel remains a dicey space, with UWM continuing to grow market share (close to 50%) and smaller competitors disappearing. Homepoint, loanDepot, Stearns and now Fairway have all exited the space within the past two years. Irrespective of UWM’s dominance, the wholesale channel accounts for less than 20% of the originations market.

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