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CEO surprises employees with $25 million in holiday bonuses

Olivia Cross
·Social Media Editor
·4 min read

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the company holiday bonus season is still happening in 2020.

Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) is looking to bring some hope and a little extra reward to their employees’ lives in the form of $25 million in cumulative bonuses.

“Obviously, it's been a troubling year in the markets of America, across the country,” Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of UWM, said recently on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “And at a mortgage company, we feel it's really our obligation to make an impact by helping more consumers.”

Photo credit: UWM Life Facebook page
Photo credit: UWM Life Facebook page

With more than 14.4 million cases and over 280,000 deaths just within the U.S. according to the CDC, not to mention over seven million jobs lost, the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect across the country.

New cars, free cruise, bills paid for a year

Although many companies suffered a result of the pandemic, UWM had another record-breaking year, as it now plans to go public in the largest SPAC deal in history.

As the current no. 1 wholesale lender and largest purchase mortgage lender in America, UWM is known not only for its yearly monster growth but its insane holiday bonuses and parties as well.

Photo credit: UWM Life Facebook page
Employees learned the news during their virtual holiday party. (Photo: UWM Life/Facebook)

Last year during the company’s holiday party, Ishbia gifted 13 lucky employees new Cadillacs and 30 employees a cruise to the Bahamas with the opportunity to bring a guest along.

This year, he managed to top that during the company’s virtual holiday party.

In a statement to Yahoo Finance, UWM said they will pay a total of “$25 million in bonuses cumulatively to team members for reaching the company’s 3-year goals which were set in 2017.”

In addition to that, “all team members will receive a minimum of $1,000 in company stock based on their tenure for a total of $35 million in team-member owned shares of UWM which will list as UWMC at NYSE when the company goes public.”

Photo credit: UWM Life Facebook page
Some employees received a Cadillac. (Photo: UWM Life/Facebook)

The gifts didn’t stop there. UWM also announced that “instead of its annual all-expenses-paid cruise trip, 50 team members won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Fontainebleau all-inclusive resort in Miami, Florida.”

“We're all going together,” Ishbia said. “It's not just go when you want. We all go the same weekend.”

Ishbia explained that not all of his elaborate gifts are given at random. Some prizes are awarded to team members who are recognized for their hard work with raffle tickets that they can use to cash into big mystery ticket items come time for the holiday party.

“This was not just a random raffle — people [in the company] earn raffle tickets throughout the year by doing a great job,” he said.

Other raffles included bills and groceries paid for a year, a home remodel, and a trip to anywhere in the U.S. And, a total of 10 lucky team members were announced as raffle winners that drove home either a Cadillac Escalade, XT4, XT5, or a Chevrolet Corvette.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 05: A Chevrolet Corvette sports car is on display during the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) at the National Exhibition and Convention Center on November 5, 2020 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
A Chevrolet Corvette sports car is on display during the 3rd China International Import Expo at the National Exhibition and Convention Center on November 5, 2020 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

“We obviously take great care of our team members,” Ishbia said. “When we win together, we all win. And when we have the tougher years, then we don't do any extravagant things. That's what you gotta do when you're running a business.”

‘Could start last week... getting a thousand dollars of shares’

The idea of Ishbia’s company gifts is about letting everyone have ownership once they start working for him.

“They could start last week on Monday, they're getting a thousand dollars of shares,” he said. “At the same time, people that have been with me 15 years and are in different roles could be getting $15,000 or $30,000 or a hundred thousand [in shares.]”

Photo credit: UWM Life Facebook page
Employees were excited at the news. (Photo: UWM Life/Facebook)

When Ishbia joined the company in 2003, there were only 12 people at UWM. The company has since grown to about 7,200 employees.

Ishbia has an exciting 2021 laid out ahead. Aside from plans to take the company public within the second week of January, he is confident that the business will continue to grow to an even larger scale than it did this year. And, Ishbia has already started planning his holiday bonuses for next year.

“We're going to continue to take great care of people,” he said. “That's how we got here... Sometimes people say, what got you here, won't get you there. And I don't believe that. With us, what got us here is going to get us to the next level, by taking care of our people. Continue to do the right thing and good things will happen. That’s what's going on in our company.”

Olivia is a social media editor for Yahoo Finance.

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