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UWM to go public in largest SPAC deal in history

Mat Ishbia, United Wholesale Mortgage CEO joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss his company going public in the largest SPAC deal in history.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: United Wholesale Mortgage just the very latest to come to market through a SPAC. The nation's second largest mortgage provider listing through a $16 billion merger with The Blank Check Company, backed by The Gores Group. This makes this the largest SPAC deal in history.

Let's bring in the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, Mat Ishbia, joining us from Michigan today. Mat, congratulations on the listing. Let's talk about the timing of all of this. It has certainly, no question, been a very strong year for SPACs, as well as IPOs, surprisingly. Why now, and what, specifically, are you going to be doing with the money raised here?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, no, we're excited. You know, we're having a great year here. Obviously, it's been a troubling year in the markets of America, across the country. And at a mortgage company, we feel it's really our obligation to make an impact by helping more consumers. And with rates low, we've been able to do a great job with that. And we're excited for the future, as well.

And so we think that the opportunity will really level the playing field with us. We're the second-large mortgage provider in America. But helping-- educating consumers about-- that, hey, this is the best way to get a mortgage, through an independent mortgage broker. Whether they come to us or another lender, we're going to help you get a great deal. And so part of the money that we're raising is to really educate consumers, to drive marketing, and hopefully, you know, take our business from number two to number one here in the near future.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, number two to number one behind Quicken there, in terms of wholesale mortgage lender in the country. You got about 1/3 of the market share in that category. Talk to me-- it's a very interesting time, I assume, to be in the mortgage business, since we've seen interest rates so low. I mean, talk to me about kind of the growth that you've seen here, as we've gotten into this environment we're in here with rates near zero. How do you expect that to change maybe over the course of the next couple of years?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, absolutely. These are the all-time lowest rates. At our business, we've, obviously, had a great year this year, but we really shine in a purchase market, where a lot of our refinance competitors, whether it's the large lender in the country or other ones, they do a lot more refinances than us. We're really less cyclical.

So in the mortgage business, we actually look forward to when-- if rates do go up, we'll be able to help more people, from a purchase perspective, to actually grow our market share in that perspective. And so when there's low rates or if rates are-- you know, if the economy gets a little bit better, which we all want in America, as an American, we'll be able to really sustain our growth and hopefully continue to take more market share in a purchase environment.

AKIKO FUJITA: I mean, even with that said, we have seen huge growth this year in the housing market, largely driven by those low mortgage rates. I'm curious what you have seen in the market. Has there been a-- you know, in terms of the shift that we have seen as a result of these rates, it seems almost so counter to what we're seeing in the rest of the economy. Part of it is inventory. But of course, a lot of it is driven by rates.

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, you know, really low interest rates, everyone can save money. And so the benefit to the economy is if you're paying a mortgage right now and you could probably save $100 a month, that saves a lot of people money, and you can use that for other things in your life.

And so, you know, 30-year fixed rates in the 2s. If you're not in the 2s, you're refinancing it. And if you're buying a house, you used to be able to afford a $300,000 house with a 3.5% rate, but now you can afford a $320,000 house with a 2.5% rate.

So it gives more affordability. So if more buyers are in the market-- and obviously, people that are refinancing-- you know, you got to find an independent mortgage broker to, you know, get you a low rate, close loan fast, and really, a seamless process with the technology that we have and some other lenders out there.

AKIKO FUJITA: And that-- Zack alluding to the fact that you're the second-largest wholesale mortgage lender right now. You haven't been shy about your ambitions here to become the number one, topping Quicken. I mean, how do you differentiate yourself, and what do you think is your advantage in the market that takes you to that number one spot?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, no, so to be clear, we're the number one wholesale mortgage lender in the country. We've been for six consecutive years. What-- we don't do retail. Quicken is the number one overall, retail and wholesale combined.

So what's going to take us to number one is really just educating consumers. Because when people realize that the best way to get a mortgage-- it's cheaper, faster, and easier to go to a mortgage broker. So you go to FindAMortgageBroker.com. You find a local mortgage broker, and they shop. They send you to me at UWM or to Quicken or whoever the best deal for you is, but you get a lower rate.

You know, our 30-year fixed rates in the month of November was 2.76%, which is lower than the rest of the market. So cheaper, faster, easier through a mortgage broker. And so when more people understand that, they'll go through the broker channel, and we will continue to grow and eventually become the number one overall mortgage company, along with the number one wholesale lender.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and you know, Mat, what's interesting here, too-- and I don't want to overlook this. Because originally, when we had you on last year, we were talking about the culture at UWM here and why it's such a nice place to work for millennials, specifically. We had you on about the holiday party and gifting some employees Cadillacs, your raffles. You had the Chainsmokers at your holiday party. How much of the culture do you expect to change here, maybe, as you become, you know, a publicly-listed company here? And what might that do to change it?

Because the other part of this, your story here, you know, you started the company back in 2003, a company founded by your father. You worked your way all the way up now to be running it. Talk to me about maybe how it changes now, as a publicly-traded company?

MAT ISHBIA: Yeah, you know, so when I joined in 2003, there was 12 people at UWM, and now we have about 7,200 team members here. But the culture and the family atmosphere has not changed. So we were very small back then, and we're obviously larger now. That is the key and the critical.

So obviously, with COVID, a lot-- most of our people are working from home. But when we get everyone back, we can have holiday parties like that again next year and do some great things. But we're still going to celebrate because it was the best year in company history, and we expect 2021 to be significantly better than 2020. So we're excited about that opportunity.

But the culture and the family, can't change that. That's the secret sauce. If you start changing the family feel, the culture, the team atmosphere, you know, that's the problem. And so we're not changing that, and that's one of the key parts of-- we're going public. The key thing is-- and I'm going to still have the great majority of the shares, and we're going to continue to run the business the right way for our team members, our clients, and consumers across America.

AKIKO FUJITA: OK, well, Mat Ishbia, certainly a new chapter for your company today, the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. Appreciate your time.

MAT ISHBIA: Thanks for having me.