[Update: This article has been updated to reflect Caliber Home Loans’ stance.]
Wholesale lenders voiced their continued support of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts despite recent lewd and sexist comments made by AIME Chairman Anthony Casa.
Over the July 4 holiday, Casa sent a video to Quicken Loans Vice President Austin Niemiec in which he made comments of a sexual nature about Niemiec’s wife. These videos were then circulated by Casa to prominent mortgage industry executives. Niemiec’s wife, Theresa Niemiec, later filed a lawsuit against Casa for defamation.
Click here to see the lawsuit complaint in full.
Now, wholesale lenders known for their support of AIME are condemning Casa’s remarks, but say they will continue to support the association.
“UWM stands behind AIME and the mortgage broker channel,” a spokesperson for United Wholesale Mortgage told HousingWire. “What AIME has done for the mortgage broker channel over the last two and a half years has provided independent mortgage brokers with a voice, a community, and advocacy beyond anything that has ever existed in the broker channel, even at its peak. As we have always said, anything that helps brokers grow and thrive, we will support.”
The spokesperson did condemn Casa’s actions, but said UWM and AIME will continue to grow their partnership.
“UWM does not support the disturbing comments made by Anthony Casa or condone this type of behavior,” they said. “Sending those messages was an extreme lapse in judgement as Anthony Casa stated in his public apology. Anthony Casa is separate from AIME. UWM and AIME will continue to be partners and we will continue to stay focused on giving independent mortgage brokers access to the tools, technology, and resources to help them be successful.”
In short, UWM expressed that, “AIME is more than Anthony Casa.”
After HousingWire published an article on the lawsuit filed against Casa, he responded with a new video on LinkedIn issuing a full apology. And wholesale lenders recognized his public apology in their statements of support.
“The comments made by Anthony Casa are unfortunate, and he has already publicly apologized, taken ownership and condemned his own comments,” AFR Wholesale President Laura Brandao said. “AIME has grown to be a strong, vital organization created for, and fueled by, brokers. Its mission has not changed, and AFR will continue to support the organization.”
However, Caliber Home Loans condemned Casa’s actions, and said it is suspending all support of AIME.
“Caliber is committed to the equal and fair treatment of all individuals,” a Caliber spokesperson told HousingWire. “We strive to ensure a safe, professional and respectful environment for our customers and our employees, and expect the same from each Caliber business partner who helps families to achieve their dreams. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind in our company or the workplaces of those companies that engage in business with Caliber.”
AIME President Marc Summers told HousingWire that the comments made by Casa are inexcusable and not supported by the association or its members and sponsors. In a Facebook post on Monday, Summers wrote:
“We would like to take this opportunity to address the statements made by AIME Chairman, Anthony Casa. As a professional trade association with resources dedicated to brokers from all backgrounds in the mortgage industry and a specific focus on providing resources to women in the wholesale channel, we know that these statements are inexcusable and can reassure all members and sponsors are not views that the AIME team supports.”
“AIME is committed to being accountable for actions made by our representatives inside and outside of our organization,” he said. “Any loss of credibility is a loss to the channel and is taken seriously and without bias. We are focused on serving the 40,000 members of AIME, the growth of the channel and opening the dialogue to have candid conversations about how we can be better together.”