Rocket promises brokers 15-day loan closings

New program comes as the battle for purchase business heats up

Rocket Pro TPO has launched a program that will guarantee financing to close in 15 days, a move to entice mortgage brokers and their real estate agent partners in a scorching-hot housing market. It also represents yet another sweetener designed to convince brokers to choose them over rival United Wholesale Mortgage.

Dubbed the “Fast 15 Guarantee,” eligible loans for conventional single family homes will be cleared to close in no more than 15 business days from the submission of a complete loan file, according to Rocket Pro TPO, the wholesale arm of the lending giant. Rocket Pro TPO, which plans to run the promotion until the end of the month, will award borrowers with a $2,500 lender credit if the loan does not close on its promised due date. 

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is and saying we’ll get your loan ready to close quickly, or we’ll give you a pretty significant amount of money,” said Kevin Randolph, senior vice president of operations at Rocket Pro TPO. 

February and March were when the firm saw the best closing turn times for Rocket Pro TPO, Randolph said, though he would not disclose the average number of days it took to close a loan. Government, FHA, and VA loans do not apply and the program is not available in 16 states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. 

The country’s largest retail lender and second-biggest wholesale originator’s new program launched following a drop in refinance application volume as few borrowers have an incentive to apply at rates that are higher than a year ago. Mortgage applications decreased 6.8% for the week ending March 25, from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.  

While Rocket Mortgage capitalized on the pandemic-driven refi boom in 2020, notching an astounding $9.4 billion in profit on the strength of $320 billion in mortgage origination volume, the firm’s net income dropped 70% year-over-year to $2.8 billion in 2021, a year in which just 16% of its overall origination volume came from purchase mortgages, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance.

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The Fast 15 Guarantee is Rocket Pro’s second biggest announcement aimed to bolster its market share in the broker channel. In January, it rolled out the Crews program, which connected each Rocket Pro TPO broker with a team of in-house mortgage experts, consisting of underwriters, closing specialists, and purchase title coordinators, to speed up the loan closing process.

Other programs Rocket Pro TPO introduced in the past few years include Pathfinder, a proprietary mortgage guideline search engine, and Rocket Connect, providing brokers communication with underwriters and operational leaders directly in the broker portal.

“Mortgage rates are rising but the purchase market is forecast to do pretty well in the mortgage industry this year,” said Randolph. “Most of that has to do with a lot of buyers in the market. Home prices still seem to continue to be increasing while there is low inventory.”

More than a year ago, UWM set out to hobble Rocket in the wholesale space by issuing an ultimatum to brokers. Brokers who sent loans to Rocket Pro TPO or Fairway Independent Mortgage could no longer send them to UWM, Mat Ishbia said in a Facebook Live address on March 4, 2021. Ishbia said his power play was about protecting the broker space; Rocket and Fairway said it was hardly high-minded, but rather a cutthroat tactic to cut down competitors.

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