[Article has been updated to include responses from Quicken and Fairway]
United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), the top wholesale lender in the nation, announced on a Facebook live Thursday that UWM will no longer partner with brokers who also work with Rocket Mortgage and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of UWM, gave brokers and owners a deadline of March 15 to sign an addendum saying they are not working with those two lenders.
“If you work with them, can’t work with UWM anymore, effective immediately,” Ishbia said. “I can’t stop you, but I’m not going to help you, help the people that are hurting the broker channel, and that’s what’s going on right now.
“We don’t need to fund Fairway Independent or Rocket Mortgage to try to put brokers out of business. We don’t need to do that. If you want to do that as your own deal, no hard feelings, but you can’t work with UWM anymore,” he said.
According to the announcement, the decision comes in response to Rocket and Fairway participating in actions including soliciting loan officers away from brokers and working directly with real estate agents to cut brokers out of the entire process.
Ishbia pointed to the “other 75 great lenders” and said that there are other lenders where he doesn’t agree with their business practices, “but these two are going after the broker channel.”
The news is just one of three announcements from the wholesale lender, which announced the launch of Prime Jumbo, coming March 17, with LTV up to 89.99%, and sharpened pricing across the board.
In May 2020, UWM launched its “Conquest” program to enable brokers to go after new customers, even ones that a broker lost to another lender just weeks earlier. Ishbia said that the program’s “been great. It’s had it’s in place,” but moving forward, “We’re gonna pivot here at UWM, we’re all gonna do it together. Conquest will still be out there, but our regular programs, our elite programs, our non-elite programs, our regular conventional, FHA, VA, all those programs, those are going to be the focus.”
In response to UWM’s announcement, Austin Niemiec, Rocket Pro TPO vice president, said in an interview with HousingWire: “Brokers are incredibly smart and savvy mortgage professionals and business owners. They are dialed in to their industry. And we know that we need to provide value, and we need to support them. And if we don’t, it’s their decision and their choice to fire us. But what you’re seeing happen is the complete opposite.
“This isn’t a move to support the broker community, it actually harms brokers. This isn’t a move to support the consumer, it actually harms the consumer. This is a move to support UWM, and UWM alone. A consumer goes to a broker because of choice,” Niemiec added. “A broker’s competitive advantage is choice, it is their super powered. By UWM dictating brokers to eliminate one of their choices, it harms the broker and harms the consumer, period.”
Fairway declined to comment.
HW Media CEO Clayton Collins discussed this breaking news with Mat Ishbia during HousingWire’s Spring Summit on Thursday. An on-demand version of the session will be available exclusively to HW+ members after the summit.