Industry Watch: Quicken becomes Rocket, Guild acquires RMS, Genworth delays IPO and more

Quicken Loans has announced that it is officially changing its name to Rocket Mortgage, effective July 31. The change fully brings Quicken into alignment with the conglomerate’s overarching “Rocket” brand; its parent company is named Rocket Companies and sister companies are already dubbed Rocket Homes, Rocket Auto and Rocket Loans. Quicken currently has a legal “doing business as” (DBA) in place and acknowledged via press release that consumers may see the company referenced by either name leading up to the formal name change at the end of July.

Guild Mortgage and Residential Mortgage Services Holdings have announced a definitive merger agreement. Under the terms of the deal, Guild will acquire RMS and its 70 offices in 14 New England and Mid-Atlantic states, giving the company a retail foothold in the Northeast Market. Based on 2020 loan originations, the combined company would have been the nation’s seventh largest nonbank retail lender last year. Guild expects the transaction to be accretive to 2021 earnings per share and to close in the third quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Enact Holdings — previously Genworth Mortgage Holdings — has put the 11th hour brakes to its previously announced initial public offering (IPO). Enact’s parent company, Genworth Financial, decided to postpone the offering after determining that “in light of the recent significant trading volatility in the mortgage insurance sector … current market pricing for the planned offering does not accurately reflect Enact’s value.” A statement from the company said that Genworth’s liquidity position to meet its near-term obligations is not dependent on the IPO, with the holding company having approximately $757 million in cash and liquid assets as of March 31.

Plaza Home Mortgage has announced a new jumbo mortgage program, dubbed “Jumbo AUS,” that offers fixed rate mortgages up to $2 million using the new Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition and leveraging Desktop Underwriter (DU) and Loan Product Advisor (LPA) documentation. The program, available through Plaza’s Wholesale and National Correspondent channels, accepts FICO scores as low as 680, debt-to-income ratios as high as 45% and loan-to-value ratios as high as 89.9 percent. Jumbo AUS loans can be for most property types to be used as primary residences, second homes and investment properties; for one-unit primary residence loans, all or part of the down payment can be gifted funds. Both purchase and refi mortgages are eligible under the new product.

Finance of America (FOA) has launched Finance of America Home Improvement, a new business division that offers non-mortgage financing options for home renovations. The new division also offers the company’s proprietary “Benji” platform, giving contractors tools to grow their business and homeowners access to financing solutions through their contractor. The launch is directly tied to FOA’s earlier acquisition of Renovate America, Inc., including Benji.

Not long after its March 8 IPO, has announced a definitive merger agreement with Aurora Acquisition Corp. that will transform Better into a publicly traded company by the fourth quarter of this year. Aurora is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by private equity investor Novator Capital. As part of the transaction, which values Better at approximately $6.9 billion with a post-money equity value of approximately $7.7 billion, Better investor SoftBank has announced it will commit $1.5 billion into the combined company, $200 million of which will be taken up by Novator. Better founder and CEO Vishal Garg, along with existing Better management, will continue to lead the company under the terms of the deal.


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