United Wholesale Mortgage Still on Top Despite Negative Reports
Who owns United Wholesale Mortgage? The nation's largest mortgage lender received negative press from Bloomberg in April. Here's what we know.
United Wholesale Mortgage is a mortgage lender — in fact, the company passed Rocket Mortgage in 2022 to become the largest overall mortgage lender in the U.S. The company, founded by Jeff Ishbia, is now run by his son, CEO Mat Ishbia, and recently came under fire in the media for its workplace culture. Who owns United Wholesale Mortgage?
UWM is a publicly traded mortgage lending company founded in 1986 in Michigan. Initially named Shore Mortgage, it later took on the name United Wholesale Mortgage. The company became a subsidiary of United Shore Financial Services in 2002.
How did United Wholesale Mortgage start?
Jeff Ishbia was the founder of United Wholesale Mortgage, who started the firm as a project on the side of his legal career. It's a wholesale mortgage lender, which means it works with independent mortgage brokers nationwide rather than providing mortgages directly to consumers. This is in order "to provide a client experience far superior to that of any bank or retail mortgage lender."
In 2021, United Wholesale Mortgage went public via a merger with Gores Holdings IV, using a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) IPO. The merger with the so-called "blank check" company valued UWM at $16 billion, which was at the time the largest listing made through a SPAC.
Not long after that, it announced plans to accept bitcoin for mortgage payments. CNBC reported that CEO Mat Ishbia said, “We’ve evaluated the feasibility, and we’re looking forward to being the first mortgage company in America to accept cryptocurrency to satisfy mortgage payments.”
Who owns United Wholesale Mortgage?
Since its IPO, UWM has been a publicly traded company. On the NYSE, it trades under the ticker symbol UWMC.
Mat Ishbia, son of the company founder Jeff Ishbia, is its president and chief executive. Jeff Ishbia now serves as a board member at UWM. He continues to manage a number of businesses and is managing partner at the law firm Ishbia & Gagleard, P.C.
What is Mat Ishbia's role at United Wholesale Mortgage?
Mat Ishbia attended Michigan State University and played on the 2000 National Championship-winning team. Ishbia graduated in 2003 from MSU's Eli Broad College of Business and then joined his father's company. When Mat started, he was only the 12th UWM team member.
The younger Ishbia learned the fundamentals of the wholesale mortgage business over the following decade. According to UWM, he put mortgage brokers at the center of the business and brought all account executives in-house to provide brokers with direct access. In 2013, Mat Ishbia took over as CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage.
A recent report on workplace culture paints a negative image of United Wholesale Mortgage.
In April of 2023, Bloomberg published an article that criticized UWM's workplace culture. As The Detroit News reported, the Bloomberg article cited anonymous UWM employees who claimed issues like "sexual harassment, drug use, and racial disparities" took place there.
Some assertions made in that report were:
- Some underwriting managers treated Black workers differently from white ones
- Sales staff members made frequent unwanted sexual remarks
- Employees spoke of cocaine use at headquarters as well as at client events
There was also a complaint filed in 2021 with the National Labor Relations Board, in which two Black employees claimed the company threatened them with termination after complaining about wages and hours. UWM settled by agreeing to back pay to those employees, although it said the employees were fired over "negative attitude" and poor performance.
Has United Wholesale Mortgage changed its executive leadership?
CEO Mat Ishbia wasn't named as having done anything wrong in the report about workplace culture, and he's a widely respected professional. He received Crain's 2022 "Newsmaker of the Year" award, was the 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been included in Mortgage Professionals of America's "Global 100."
In February 2023, UWM appointed Andrew Hubacker as its new Chief Financial Officer. The change came about after Tim Forrester, the former CFO, died in July 2022 from cancer.