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UWM sues another broker shop over ‘the ultimatum’

UWM on Thursday sued Atlantic Trust Mortgage Corporation for selling loans to Rocket and Fairway

Three years into its controversial ultimatumUnited Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) continues to engage in legal battles with its broker partners selling loans to rivals Rocket Mortgage and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp

UWM on Thursday filed a lawsuit in a U.S. district court in Michigan against Atlantic Trust Mortgage Corporation, a Florida-based broker shop with 18 loan officers, per the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS).  

The lawsuit states that Atlantic Trust signed a wholesale broker agreement with UWM in January 2018 but agreed to amend the contract to add the “All-In Initiative” in December 2022. 

Through the All-In Initiative, or “ultimatum,” UWM had ended its business relationship with brokers who chose to continue originating loans to Rocket and Fairway. The decision was made because the company believes the retail lenders’ business model negatively impacts consumers, brokers, and the wholesale channel, it claims.

According to the lawsuit, despite agreeing with the All-In Initiative, “Atlantic Trust has submitted at least 71 mortgage loans to the select retail lenders” since December 2022. 

Ultimately, the lawsuit states that Atlantic Trust brought damages to UWM by sending loans to its competitors, including “to reap the benefits of UWM’s investments and services” without complying with the agreement’s requirements. 

The lender claims Atlantic Trust’s submission of the loans equates to at least $335,000 in liquidated damages. 

A UWM spokesperson wrote to HousingWire, “Unfortunately, Atlantic Trust Mortgage is one of the companies who signed a contract and then knowingly breached it. Therefore, we will follow the agreed upon contract and win damages.”

“This company is one of very few companies we have found that has knowingly breached the contract, and we will continue to hold people accountable to the contracts they sign,” the spokesperson wrote in an emailed response.

A spokesperson for Atlantic Trust told HousingWire that the broker shop has never signed the “all-in” agreement, which it has always opposed. “Ultimately, the clients are the ones that are suffering because we’re not getting to choose the best situation for them,” the spokesperson said.

In a recent episode of the MortgageShots podcast, the leadership at Atlantic Trust said that they decided to keep working with Rocket after the “all-in” initiative was launched in 2021. But in late 2022, an account executive at UWM offered them a 60-day trial when they signed a compensation agreement only.

Over the next year, the broker shop used primarily Rocket but sent loans to UWM as needed. As soon as they chose Rocket, they were sued, executives said.

“You came knocking on our doors looking for our business in good faith. We said that we will give you a try. You had good faith and said, ‘OK, let’s go down this path and see if it’s a good fit,’” Atlantic Trust President Scott Goldstein said in the podcast.

“As soon as we decided that there was another lender that was a better fit for our company, you decided to sue us. That’s not representing the broker world; that’s not representing us being an independent broker.”

Other cases 

Another lawsuit recently filed by UWM was against Madison Atrina LLC, doing business as District Lending. Based in Arizona and with seven loan officers, the broker shop in March 2019 signed UWM’s wholesale broker agreement and agreed to the All-In Initiative after two years, the lawsuit states. 

However, District Lending has submitted at least 84 mortgage loans to UWM rivals, which brought at least $420,000 in liquidated damages, according to the lawsuit filed in Michigan on Dec. 13. 

A spokesperson for District Lending did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

In March 2021, UWM’s CEO Mat Ishbia asked brokers to sign an “All In” agreement by pledging to stop working with Rocket or Fairway. He said the lenders were inhibiting mortgage brokers from growing their business. Those who decided to work with Rocket or Fairway could no longer send loans or applications to UWM. 

The UWM spokesperson wrote that the initiative “has been a massive success,” as UWM has over “11,000 broker partners who are All-In with UWM, and we continue to grow the wholesale channel.”

However, the All-In Initiative also has been the focus of several lawsuits.  

UWM sued Kevron Investments Inc. and America’s MoneyLine (AML) in February 2022 for breaching their contracts by continuing to selling loans to Rocket and Fairway. The cases are still in progress. In another case, UWM settled a lawsuit with broker shop Mid Valley Funding in June 2023. 

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