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UWM CEO on mortgage lending process, company outlook

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Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Julie Hyman, and Myles Udland speak with United Wholesale Mortgage CEO about the company’s listing on the NYSE.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: It's a big day for the largest wholesale mortgage lender in the country, United Wholesale Mortgage. The company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange after announcing a SPAC deal with Gores Holdings back in September. Right now, the stock is up about 3% in the early going here. Let's get right to United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia for a deeper look at the company.

Mat, good to see you again. Congrats on the listing today. I want to start with how much stock employees got in the lead up to this. I saw some different numbers out there. The one I have settled on, you-- you gave away $35 to $40 million worth of stock to employees. Is-- is that correct?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, absolutely. So we're a family company. We've got 8,000 great people at our company, and we're proud to make every one of them an owner with me. Obviously, I'm the largest shareholder. But now, we're all a shareholders together as a family. So we're excited about that. As the company continues to grow, we continue to win. We're obviously paying a dividend, too, so our-- our shareholders along with our team member, everyone's going to win together.

MYLES UDLAND: Hey, Mat. It's Myles here. Thanks-- thanks for joining. I want to ask maybe a-- a simple, stupid question. We're talking about this in our morning meeting this morning. We're like, OK, what-- what exactly is the wholesaler again? I think a lot of people, they only interact with the mortgage market a couple of times in their lives. Where exactly do you sit within that stack?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. So we're just a mortgage lender like everyone else. The difference between UWM and others is we don't have our name brand out there to go to consumers. We work with independent mortgage brokers. The mortgage brokers, whether you go through findamortgagebroker.com, you find a local mortgage broker, is the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to get a mortgage. And they work with UWM.

So basically, if you go get a mortgage, you go to findamortgagebroker.com, you find a great broker in your area, and then they shop with us and all the top lenders in America and place it. So you're getting wholesale pricing rather than retail. And so we basically provide cheaper mortgages to consumers across America through our mortgage brokers.

BRIAN SOZZI: Now, you have big goals, big ambitions for the company. You want to double your mortgage share, mortgage market share over the next decade. What are you going to do to get to that?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. Well, we're going to continue to educate consumers. To there's two big things. We have a lot of money coming into the company so-- from-- from this deal, and we're very excited about, you know, investing that in technology. Right now, we're a leader in technology, but we're not slowing down. We're going to double down on the tech, continue to make the process faster and easier.

And then on the mortgage broker side, get the-- get the word out there so that consumers know you don't go to the big lenders, but you go to a broker, a local person in your area, and they will help you find the right one. And so as the mortgage broker channel grows, UWM will grow with it. We're about 35% of the whole broker channel, and we're going to continue to grow that market share along with growing the broker channel as well. So we're excited about both those things, but tech is going to be a big part of it as making the process faster, easier, and cheaper.

JULIE HYMAN: So Mat, presumably when you're taking the market share, you're taking it mostly from the big banks. And if you're counting on that mortgage broker channel, how does that work? How do you get the word out to them? Is there a financial relationship, for example, between you and the mortgage brokers? How does that whole system work?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. The mortgage brokers, we help them. We're basically enabling them to compete. They've always-- when you go through wholesale, like in any industry, it's always cheaper. And so since we can give them cheaper rates, we-- have to go get their own business. We don't provide the business for them. So they go out there, find their own business, and then they shop and decide whether they sell it to us or other lenders.

You know, we're the number two overall lender in the country, the number one wholesaler. And so we're excited about continuing to grow, continuing to help the mortgage brokers go. And as they grow, we'll grow. But it's really, the nice part about it all is it's best for the consumer. At the end of the day, if you're doing what's best for the end user, the consumer, making it cheaper and faster, you're going to end up winning. And that's how our company has grown so much over the last 10, 15 years.

BRIAN SOZZI: Mat, for those investors, those longer-term minded investors crunching the numbers, how does a change in Fed policy-- when they-- when the Fed starts raising rates let's say sometime in 2022, how does that impact your model?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. You know, so actually, that's when we actually grow market share. So we're-- we're-- we're doing really well right now, but we don't do as well in the refi market as a lot of others. We're-- we're not 95% refi like some of my competitors. We're a more of a purchase business that's focused on local consumers in their market. So when the rates do go up-- which they will, of course, right? We're actually less cyclical.

So if you're going to be in the mortgage market, you're going to want to invest with us. And not only that, but we're also paying a dividend. So we're going to be part of-- like, we're going to win. We make a lot of money. This is not a flyer company. We've been in business 35 years. I've been there 18 years, and we've grown from 12 people in 2003 to 8,000-plus right now, and so we're excited about it. We've been through the market. This is not our-- our first rodeo going through our rates going up, rates going down. We're not only prepared, but we've done it before and we're excited about it, because that's actually when we take market share and when we really shine.

BRIAN SOZZI: Mat, I remember talking to you back in September when this transaction was announced. And I got off air and I thought, wow, that guy's a pretty competitive dude. When do you anticipate overtaking Quicken Loans, your chief rival? When do you think you will overtake them in being the number one mortgage originator in the country?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, absolutely. They're a great company. They've done a lot of great things. They're number one. We're number two. And my expectation is in the next two to three years, we will pass them. We're working hard every single day. Obviously, we're going to be the best mortgage company. We don't-- we don't-- you know, we do the highest quality loans, fastest, easiest, cheapest.

We're making sure we do the right thing long-term. I'm never going to sacrifice long-term success for short-term success. But our expectation is whether it's 2022, 2023, when rates tick up a little bit, you'll see a shine, and we will become the overall number one mortgage company America proudly with our mortgage brokers and our team members.

MAT ISHBIA: And Mat, finally, just maybe switching gears slightly, I just want to ask about what's going on in Detroit, what's going on in the Michigan economy these days, you know, with yourselves and Quicken there. Certainly there's a lot of-- of energy, a lot of entrepreneurial energy, I think, in the city. And I think here in New York, we maybe forget about some of this. And we talk about Austin and Miami, but Detroit's got a lot going on.

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, the Detroit market's great. You know, truly-- truly, we've done well. Other mortgage companies have done well. And the-- the key is I think it's a Midwestern, hard-working, blue-collar type of place, you know? So a lot people start calling it the mortgage city because there's so many great mortgage companies there. People working hard, positive attitudes, great work ethics, and that's what's driven our success. That's how I got here, and that's how we've all gotten here together. And so we have a lot of great people there.

It's really about people. When you're in the mortgage business, you don't have a patent. You have people. Who can have the best technology, which we think we do, and the best people, which is what we think we have, too. So we're excited about the growth and the opportunity to continue to grow. We already hired 700 people in 2021 already this month, 700 more people on our team. We're going to continue to add. We're going to be over 10,000 people by the end of the year. So we're proud of our place in the Metro Detroit and Michigan market.

BRIAN SOZZI: Mat, I-- I have to put you on the spot here. So if I did my math correct, your ownership in the company is now worth $11 billion. Have-- have you thought about that at all? You're-- you're now a billionaire. You just debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah. You know, I-- I-- I look at that as I focus on success. Money follows success. That's just the scoreboard. I haven't really paid attention to what they say my worth is or net worth. Like, I focus on take care of my team members, help the mortgage broker channel continue to grow, help continue to help consumers win. And, you know, money follows success. Success will be there. And so we're focusing on that, and I'll continue to focus on that.

BRIAN SOZZI: And what does your Dad think about all this? He essentially founded the company, and then you joined.

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, he's very proud. He's here with me today in the New York Stock Exchange and very proud. He-- he's such a great man. He's really, you know, put the principles in place. He doesn't work at our company. He hasn't worked at our company in a long time. But he laid the principles in place for me to be successful along with our team, and that to do right by team members, do right by shareholders, and continue to grow. And so he's been a big part of my success, and I'm proud to be here with him.

BRIAN SOZZI: All right, we'll leave it there. United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia, congrats on listing, and we'll be in touch.

MAT ISHBIA: Thank you.