Mat Ishbia is “disappointed” with Rocket Companies Inc. For those who have followed the feud between the two Detroit-based lenders, this is not a shock.
“Disappointed is the nicest way to describe my thoughts around Rocket Mortgage/Quicken Loans laying off over 2,000 of their people, as this should not be necessary for a company that made over $5 Billion last year in profits,” Ishbia wrote.
The post received more than 500 comments and was shared more than 330 times, but it incorrectly characterizes the job reductions as layoffs. Rocket Mortgage and Amrock, its title company, announced April 25 it is offering voluntary buyouts to 8% of its workforce. Rocket Companies, including Rocket Mortgage, employ approximately 26,000 people, mostly in Detroit, so 8% of the workforce is about 2,080 people.
The affected employees are primarily in Rocket Mortgage’s operations team and at various groups within Amrock. A Rocket spokesperson framed it as an “opportunity to voluntarily accept a career transition incentive.”
The incentives included a several months-long compensation package; full medical, dental, and vision coverage for six months; payment for banked personal time off; early vesting of stock incentives that team members received at the company’s IPO; and outplacement services.
Still, Ishbia took Rocket to task for the announcement. “Even though United Wholesale Mortgage directly competes with Rocket, I hate seeing this type of negative impact on families in Metro Detroit,” he wrote. “These 2,000+ people will struggle to find new jobs, and I think it’s disgusting that (Rocket is) thinking short term and are solely focused on cutting a few million per month in costs… this is the wrong thing to do to people.”
In his post, Ishbia makes no mention of the fact that the job cuts are voluntary buyouts, nor does he cite the incentive package.
He adds that he is proud that UWM has not “had a single layoff in 35 years” and adds that “we will never have a layoff because we are a family company focused on what’s best for our people.”
Rocket Mortgage has yet to formally respond to Ishbia’s comments, but Jared Fleisher, Rocket’s vice president of government affairs, replied to the post on LinkedIn the next day.
Fleisher, who started by stating that, “Nobody asked me to write this,” called Ishbia’s comments “nothing but empty cynicism.”
“There isn’t another company in Detroit or this country that can match Rocket’s record of philanthropy and community investment and service and overall commitment to its community,” Fleisher wrote.
“You sir,” he continued, speaking directly to Ishbia, “have no such record to speak of.”
Fleisher went on to defend Rocket’s announcement, stating that the company “is responding to dramatically changed market conditions in the most thoughtful and caring way possible.”
He again addressed Ishbia, “The fact that you seek to exploit it for your own ends is evidence of nothing but the true depth of your cynicism, lack of caring and morality.”
Ishbia’s shot at Rocket was followed over the weekend by a report from Crain’s Detroit Business that said the UWM president & CEO received a significant pay boost in 2021, the year UWM went public.
According to the report, Ishbia’s pay increased approximately $7.8 million in 2021, $600,000 more than in 2020, according to an annual proxy statement filed Friday. Crain’s noted that while Ishbia’s salary was higher in 2021 than a year earlier, it was still down significantly from 2019, when he earned nearly $18 million.
Crain’s noted that, according to the filing, other top UWM executives saw their pay decline from 2020 to 2021.
Crain’s also noted that, based on disclosures filed with the proxy statement, Ishbia’s “total compensation of more than $7.8 million last year stood at about 195 times that of the median worker employed at UWM.” It said the median pay for UWM employees at the end of last year was just under $40,000. UWM employs approximately 8,000 people.
The report from Crain’s also noted that Rocket Companies Inc. CEO Jay Farner and other top executives at Rocket saw their compensation fall from 2020, when the company went public.