Pontiac-based United Shore wants to steal Quicken Loans’ top rankingJanuary 17, 2020
One of Michigan’s fastest-growing companies, Pontiac-based United Shore Financial Services is on a hiring spree adding 200 employees a month and increasingly competing head-to-head against industry giant Quicken Loans in a key segment of the mortgage-lending market.
CEO Mat Ishbia says that if his company’s growth continues, United Shore could soon snag bragging rights to being the nation’s top mortgage firm.
But his goal will require beating a formidable incumbent: Detroit-based Quicken Loans. And Quicken, better-known on the national stage, has been working to thwart Ishbia’s dream, expanding fast in a segment of the business that involves mortgage brokers and has been United Shore’s sole focus in recent years.
United Shore, which employs 5,000 people, is still largely unknown to the general public outside Michigan, but has become a major force in the mortgage world since last decade’s housing crash. It and Quicken Loans are helping to make metro Detroit a national leader in another industry beyond the automotive sector.
Unlike banks and many online lenders, United Shore does not widely advertise because its customers are mortgage brokers — not homebuyers. It borrows money to underwrite the loans that these brokers make, which is called wholesale mortgage lending. That is the only type of business it does, which is unusual for such a high-volume national lender.
By comparison, Quicken Loans does some wholesale lending but makes the majority of its loans directly to consumers, which is known as retail lending. Its Rocket Mortgage brand appears in many TV commercials and online ads, and the firm sponsors high-profile sporting events, such as the Rocket Mortgage Classic on the PGA tour.
Direct-to-consumer loans — Quicken’s forte — also have higher profit margins than the type of business United Shore underwrites.
“We make a lot less per deal,” Ishbia said. “That’s another reason why (lenders) don’t just do wholesale. They think they can’t make much money in wholesale.”
Even so, United Shore is gaining on Quicken in the race for total volume of closed loans.
A Quicken Loans representative issued a statement regarding United Shore’s aims to unseat it in the rankings.
“As the nation’s largest lender, Quicken Loans’ sole focus is on delivering a world-class client experience,” said Aaron Emerson, Quicken’s senior vice president of communications. “This has led to the best client service in the industry, resulting in a record 16 J.D. Power awards in the last 10 years.”
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