Quicken Loans surpassed Wells Fargo Bank last year to become the largest mortgage lender in the nation. For years, Quicken Loans has grown with the refinance market. Like every mortgage company, however, Quicken Loans is now seeing a pivot toward the purchase-mortgage market.
“That’s one of the reasons we look for the broker business to continue to expand over the coming years, because we look for this purchase dominance to sustain, and that’s where brokers shine,” said David Schroeder, senior vice president of Quicken Loans Mortgage Services.
Schroeder spoke with Scotsman Guide about how his company is pursuing the purchase market and what that means for Quicken Loans and its Rocket Mortgage product.
How are rising rates affecting Quicken’s origination business in terms of the balance between the purchase and refinance markets?
On the broker court … we’ve soared to over 75 percent of it being purchase business right now. There’s a tremendous value there with the local broker being able to support the Realtors. We’re able to provide them the support to deliver an experience that gets them clear to close faster. That’s what we’re delivering on.
With a steep drop-off in refinances, how is Quicken adjusting its strategy to succeed in that new environment?
People want to be able to see what’s going on throughout — the broker as well as the Realtor — every step of the way so they have that to convey back to their client. …That’s been the biggest adjustment, us continuing to invest in the technology side of that as well as in our process.
As an example, our brokers can call and talk to an underwriter directly so they can get clarity immediately. So, they can pass that confidence onto their Realtor of what exactly is going on and what is required to move the transaction forward.
Is there be a greater reliance on referral business from mortgage brokers for purchase-loan business?
I think that’s absolutely right. They’re in the community, and they’re speaking with Realtors directly, developing those relationships. They have the confidence that a Realtor can dial them directly and get ahold of them and, frankly, hold them accountable for the results. In turn, our brokers hold us accountable.
Is there an expectation that mortgage lenders built around digital platforms, such as Quicken, will have advantages in a purchase-driven market, and what would those be?
Just expanding beyond mortgage services, where we look for Quicken Loans in a broader purchase environment is the choice. One of the beauties of Rocket Mortgage is we really believe we’ve expanded the pie of homeownership.
More borrowers can use Rocket Mortgage in the privacy of their own home and find out what they might qualify for and, if they’re comfortable proceeding online, they can do that. Or it just gives them the confidence to start looking and moving their home-purchase dream forward.
What are the disadvantages that a company like Quicken Loans must overcome in this type of market?
I don’t think there’s any great disadvantages for Quicken Loans in a purchase market other than the challenges that everybody faces. … That’s why we’re invested in multiple channels in the digital with Rocket Mortgage, our branding to make sure people feel confident with Quicken Loans as a direct outlet and our brokers being able to support them.
What advantages and hurdles does Quicken face in serving first-time homebuyers?
We have a brand that is very familiar to millennials and first-time homebuyers. They see it regularly marketed, and they see the power of Rocket Mortgage, and they have the ability to transact in a format that they’re looking for. When they’re dealing with brokers, and they see Quicken Loans as being the ultimate lender the broker is going to place them with, they have confidence in that brand and it helps our broker.
From a product perspective, we continue … to expand what we’re doing on the purchase side. As an example of that, we offer a strong mortgage insurance (MI) offering. People with a lower downpayments are in a better position to buy their first home, whether that’s with a buyer-paid MI or a lender paid MI.
What haven’t I asked that I should I be asking?
I think the biggest thing for me leading the wholesale channel is the support that we offer to brokers. One of the things we’re doing in that regard is education and resourcing.
We’re helping our brokers get in front of key Realtors through the marketplace relationships we have as well as providing marketing resources with purchase leads, with (Multiple Listing Service) triggers on the service book we have as well as marketing flyers, social media, things of that nature they can access. As the market evolves, our partners are on the front edge of that.