A trio of leading mortgage companies are wrapping up the first half of the year on a hiring spree, each taking on thousands of new employees to meet the sales demands of their respective operations.
Detroit-headquartered Quicken Loans hired more than 1,500 people since the coronavirus pandemic took root in mid-March. The company is on track to hire and train an additional 1,500 over the next two months.
Austin Niemiec, executive vice president of Quicken Loans Mortgage Services, stated the company’s new push for hiring can be attributed to historically low rates and the strength of the housing market in the midst of the pandemic’s economic turmoil.
“From a QLMS standpoint, brokers are flooding to our platform at a time where they need us and Americans need to save money,” he said, noting QLMS hired 500 of the parent company’s 1,500 new employees. “Our strong foundation has allowed us to help brokers at a record number and, in turn, we need to build a team to support our broker partners.”
Also in Michigan, Pontiac-based United Shore – the parent company of United Wholesale Mortgage, has hired 1,100 new employees since the beginning of the year and is planning to bring 1,500 more into the company over the next 90 days.
“The mortgage broker channels are really growing and we’re obviously the largest wholesale lender by a wide margin,” said CEO Mat Ishbia. “We’re trying to keep up with demand and help our brokers continue to grow.”
New York City-headquartered Better.com is also expanding its workforce.
“We’ve hired over 1,200 people since the beginning of the year,” said Taina Oquendo, Better.com’s director of corporate recruiting. “Since the beginning of COVID, we’re approaching the onboarding of about 500 of those folks. We have really aggressive hiring plans and we probably will look to maintain that trajectory through the end of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if we added about another 1,000.”
Each of the three companies has its own distinctive hiring strategies. For United Shore, the jobs will be concentrated at its Michigan headquarters.
“It is in every part of the company,” said Ishbia. “There’s technology, operations, sales, executive roles, middle leadership roles, entry-level roles.”
Ishbia added the company is focused on hiring people with mortgage industry experience, but is also reaching out to those who are willing to learn the profession and become team players.
“It’s all about getting great people with a good work ethic and a good attitude to fit into organization,” he said.
Better.com, on the other hand, has been aiming its hiring efforts at the hospitality industry, which has suffered significant job losses during the pandemic.
“We want to focus on who we’re hiring and not their resume or their experience,” stated Oquendo. “We index heavily for the kind of core competencies and the skills that they bring to the table. When you think about folks that have worked in hospitality and customer service jobs, they have a lot of those core skills that we that we’re looking: folks that are directly speaking to our borrowers with a really strong customer service mindset. They have strong stress tolerance, really high work standards and, overall, really strong hustle and grit. And when we think about what will make a really great employee, those are generally the things that we look for both in sales and off, but also like just across the company at large.”
At Quicken Loans, the new hires come in from a wide range of previous jobs.
“We’re looking for good, hard-working team members,” said Niemiec. “It’s great if they have mortgage experience, but it’s not necessary. We have a fantastic training team that’ll train folks up.”
Niemiec pointed out the training process has been adjusted since the pandemic required social distancing and work-from-home protocols.
“We’re not requiring folks to come in, obviously,” he continued. “We’re purchasing computer equipment and telephones, and then we’re shipping it to these folks’ homes and then doing the entire experience virtually.”
But what happens to all of those new jobs if the housing market were to soften? Niemiec believed his company could withstand a downturn.
“We’ve been in business for 35 years,” he said. “There’s slight ebbs and flow from year to year. But we continue to grow and grow and grow and grow and grow. We started as a small mortgage brokerage back in 1985 and now we’re the largest mortgage company in the world. We think long-term.”
Ishbia, who attracted national attention for promising not to lay off any employees at the start of the pandemic, was equally confident that the new jobs will remain.
“When rates go up, what’s going to happen is more loan officers are going to be leaving retail and joining brokers as wholesale is going to grow,” he said. “When rates are down, all the current brokers are doing a lot of business. And so either way, we see the broker channel growing substantially.”
At Better.com, Oquendo pointed out the company’s high-tech focus as ensuring the new hires will not be gone in a down market.
“We’re continuing to kind of invest in building our tech and continuing to find efficiencies in our platform,” she said. “Being able to leverage tech will enable us to continue to automate pieces of the process.”