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Mat Ishbia, United Wholesale Mortgage CEO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the state of real estate and his outlook for mortgage rates
SEANA SMITH: United Wholesale Mortgage there at the New York Stock Exchange today ringing the closing bell at the top of the hour. And in case you didn't know, today's National Mortgage Brokers Day. We want to get down to Brian Sozzi on the floor of the Stock Exchange with the CEO. Brian.
BRIAN SOZZI: Hey. Thanks so much, Seana. Mat, it's good to see you in person for a change.
MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. So excited to be here and to see you in person. We've been doing a lot of Zooms. So back to normal almost.
BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, for sure. So there's a sign out in front of the New York Stock Exchange that says findabroker.com. Can you find brokers in this environment?
MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. Findamortgagebroker.com. And there's a 1-800-BROKERS. [? There's ?] places to find. The key is mortgage brokers are the best place to get a mortgage. And so we're trying to publicize that, get that out to consumers, educate consumers. That's one of the big benefits of going public is to try to educate consumers about finding a mortgage broker.
BRIAN SOZZI: Labor is scarce. How are you finding them?
MAT ISHBIA: Well, mortgage brokers are out there in the community. So you know, we're able to find a lot of people. And they've been doing it for years. It's not like their first year, first month. These mortgage brokers are out there finding the best deals for consumers buying a house or refinancing. And so that's where you go-- findamortgagebroker.com-- to find them.
BRIAN SOZZI: We've been talking a lot in the Yahoo Finance office on housing. It's not that affordable. It's been a heck of a year and a half, two years with housing prices. How has it impacted your business?
MAT ISHBIA: You know, it's been great. You know, business has been great for UWM. We're excited about continue to grow and continue to build the business with our mortgage brokers. But you know, with rates really low right now and obviously housing, there's a little shortage on inventory. But people are taking advantage of it. And so we're excited about it. It's been a great first half of the year. Excited. Even a better second half.
BRIAN SOZZI: We're done with bank earnings. But within those bank earnings, lots to focus on. Net interest margins kind of weak. How do you make money? Are you making a good amount of money in this low rate environment?
MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, you got a low rate environment. But you know what? The key is besides making money is take great care of consumers, take care of the [? kind ?] experience, and money follows. And so we're focused on winning and success. And money follows. Our margins are actually really good. Our profits are good. We're excited about the first half. And like I said, the second half's gonna be even better.
BRIAN SOZZI: What excites you about the second half?
MAT ISHBIA: Just, you know, purchase. You know, purchase business. The rates went up a little bit. So a lot of companies in the mortgage space only live on the [? refi. ?] That's not UWM. If you want to live in the [? refi, ?] you know, we're gonna do good, but purchase is really where the strength is. And you're gonna see that in our second quarter, third quarter, and beyond. And we're excited about that with our mortgage brokers.
BRIAN SOZZI: How does the Federal Reserve taper impact your business?
MAT ISHBIA: You know, well, it just impacts rates. So as rates go up, the way I'll tell you is there's one mortgage company you want to really be involved with if rates go up. That's UWM because we do a lot on purchase. Rates go down, rates are low right now. 30 year fixed in the twos. You know, a lot of great mortgage comes out there. People can do business. So our business is focused on the long term, not just the short term with low rates. So tapering of the rates by the Fed won't impact us. Actually, I think it'll help us from a competitive position, help us become the number one overall mortgage company.
BRIAN SOZZI: From your perch, how do you feel-- what is the-- how's the growth US economy growing? How do you feel?
MAT ISHBIA: I feel good about it. I think, you know, obviously COVID was a weird time for everybody, you know? And so seeing how that's evolving right now and seeing people in the world getting back to normal. I think the economy's doing well. And I think it's gonna continue to do well through the rest this year and into 2022.
BRIAN SOZZI: Last time we talked, you had I believe 9,000 employees. How many do you have now? Did you crack the 10K mark?
MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. We're just under. We have about 9,300 people. We're all back to work at the office working hard, helping mortgage brokers grow, helping our consumers. It's a lot of fun. It's exciting. The energy is contagious. And just glad to have everyone back.
BRIAN SOZZI: Do you want people back in the office?
MAT ISHBIA: Absolutely. We want people back. We're better together. That's what I tell our team. We're better together. We serve clients better. We work together better. We're collaborating. We have energy. We have a great campus. We have, you know, basketball courts and dry cleaning and arcades. And it's a lot of fun to have everyone back. And so we're excited.
BRIAN SOZZI: You know, we've talked a number of times throughout the pandemic. This is my first time actually meeting you in person. You have as much energy standing here as you do coming on the other side of a Zoom camera. Why are you so passionate about this business?
MAT ISHBIA: Well, I just love it. I love what I do. I love our clients, our mortgage brokers. I think it's the best way for consumers to get loans. So I'm really passionate about educating consumers. And I love my 9,000 plus people. We built it together. We're a family. And we're gonna continue to build it. We're just getting started.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, it's good to finally see you. UWM CEO Mat Ishbia, good to see you.
MAT ISHBIA: Thanks for having me.
BRIAN SOZZI: Seana, back to you.