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UWM CEO Mat Ishbia Defends Ultimatum During 'Mad Money' Appearance

Navi Persaud
Mar 25, 2021
Screenshot of UWM CEO Mat Ishbia's appearance on Mad Money.

United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia continued to defend his ultimatum to brokers who do business with Rocket Mortgage and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., during an appearance on CNBC's Mad Money. Ishbia told show host Jim Cramer, that he understands how people want to portray the move but it wasn't about doing things exclusively.

"We basically said, 'Hey mortgage brokers, 12,000 of you guys, if you're partnering with Rocket they're out there doing things to maybe you call it underhandedly or maybe in a grey area, to affect consumers and brokers,'" said Ishbia in his interview with Cramer. "What we're saying is 'Listen I can stop them, but if you're going to work with them, don't work with us.' That's nothing crazy, there's 75 wholesale lenders I'm not taking away choice from anyone. It's actually been very positive, out of my 12,000 less than 500 have said they're going to go with them and once again, you'll see that in the second-quarter numbers."

Earlier this week, Fairway's CEO Steve Jacobson told NMP that while Ishbia's addendum is designed to help brokers, it actually causes them harm, more so than their clients. Last week, UWM's report that more than 10,000 broker shops agreed to its addendum was called "false and misleading," by Rocket Pro TPO executive vice president, Austin Niemiec.

"Today, Mat Ishbia and United Wholesale Mortgage distributed a press release that was false and clearly misleading. In the release, sent to the media and distributed to brokers across the country, UWM claimed 10,000 'broker shops' are partnering with UWM – attempting to mislead the broker and business community in order to show strength where little exists," said Niemiec in his statement. "The real facts are that we are aware of many brokers who didn’t even receive an addendum, let alone the 'broker shops' – meaning the actual brokerage firms – that they claim in the headline of their press release. To believe that 10,000 broker-owners bent the knee to UWM is laughable."

Niemiec also issued a number of responses to the UWM ultimatum, including one where he stated that UWM was acting out of fear and chasing money while providing charts that highlighted monthly broker closing volume and broker market share of the two companies. Meanwhile, both Rocket and Fairway have reported increases in business since UWM's announcement.

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