Pontiac, Michigan-based lender United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) Wednesday launched a new platform for independent mortgage brokers to access purchase leads, past clients and real estate agents — a move to entice and retain loan officers in a shrinking mortgage market.
UWM, the largest wholesale lender in the country, has been challenged by rising mortgage rates, decreasing refinancing volumes and fierce competition in the wholesale channel during the past couple of years, mainly from Rocket Mortgage.
Dubbed “Boost,” the new platform is a one-stop-shop allowing past clients to call on their previous brokers’ behalf, being transferred directly to them. The marketplace also provides purchase leads at a discount tailored to the brokers’ needs.
“Staying in front of past clients and building new connections are two of the most critical and challenging parts of any business,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO at UWM, according to a news release. “Boost will save brokers time while helping them establish and maintain relationships for short-term and long-term wins.”
The platform also will identify potential real estate agent partners in the mortgage broker’s area and schedule one-on-one personal meetings. Rocket Pro TPO, the wholesale arm of the lending giant, started connecting its broker partners with real estate agents through Rocket Homes, the company’s real estate listing platform, in October 2021.
UWM’s new platform launch follows a decline in the lender’s total production in the first quarter of 2022. UWM posted an increase in profits over the prior quarter, increasing its purchase volumes to record levels, but the total origination fell during the same period, mainly due to refinancings.
According to its earnings report, UWM originated $38.8 billion in mortgage loans in the first quarter of 2022, a 29.7% decrease compared to the previous quarter and a 20.8% decline year-over-year. Purchase loans grew from 24.9% of the total origination volume in Q1 2021 to 49% in Q1 2022 to $19.1 billion.
So far, the company has been proactive in rolling out new products. In March, UWM unveiled two new offerings in the non-qualified mortgages (non-QM) space: a bank statement loan product for self-employed borrowers and a product to qualify borrowers for investment properties based on the monthly rental income, rather than their current income.
UWM also is pressuring competitors via prices. In May, the lender said it will price-match loans up to 40 basis points with that of 20 different competitors, through June 30, to any conventional, government or jumbo loan on a primary, secondary or investment property.
The lender’s move comes at a time of increasing competition. In January, Rocket Pro TPO announced a program to pair each of its brokers with a team of in-house experts, made up of underwriters, closing specialists and purchase title coordinators, to help brokers navigate the loan closing process.
In April, Rocket launched a program to guarantee financing to close loans in 15 days, seeking to attract brokers. The promotion, valid until the end of the month, awarded borrowers a $2,500 lender credit if the loan does not close on its promised due date.
UWM’s most aggressive step, however, was in March 2021, when the company told brokers they could not continue to work with Rocket Pro TPO or Fairway Independent Mortgage and still work with UWM.