Detroit now has 2 main mortgage lenders: Quicken and United Shore
Metro Detroit may be a long way from the financial canyons of Wall Street, but Motor City appears to overtake New York’s financial powers in at least one category – mortgages.
As of early 2019, Quicken Loans in Detroit and Pontiac-based United Shore ranked No. 1 and No. 2 nationally for their mortgage volumes, according to industry data reported by the Inside Mortgage Finance service. It got ahead of industry giants such as Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America.
Inside Mortgage Finance reports that in the first three months of 2019, Quicken generated $ 21.8 billion in mortgages and United Shore’s United Wholesale Mortgage generated $ 17.56 billion in mortgages. This placed both lenders at the top of the national rankings.
Data reports in the industry can vary depending on how one measures various indications of loan volumes. But by all accounts, Quicken and United Shore’s United Wholesale have gained prominence in the mortgage market.
How did that happen ? Both companies ranked among smaller lenders just 10 years ago, but have grown rapidly in recent years, offering greater efficiency and convenience.
Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Shore, which operates United Shore, said it may have just been a coincidence that the two lenders are based in the same region, but it’s still good for the Detroit metro.
“I think these are just two great companies with a lot of great people in metro Detroit who are working hard and changing the industry in a positive way for consumers,” Ishbia said. “We are in direct competition, and at the same time the two companies are doing quite well in all respects.”
Businesses take a somewhat different approach to success. United Wholesale works with mortgage brokers, agents who research lenders and rates for their consumer clients. Quicken also lends through brokers, but its primary approach is direct lending to consumers without the involvement of a broker, particularly for mortgage refinances.
What every business has in common is the use of technology to increase efficiency and a very rapid increase in staff. To cope with the rapid growth in loans, United Wholesale hired more than 1,100 new “team members” in 2019, with the goal of hiring 900 more by the end of this year.
Quicken has also significantly increased its workforce. When founder and chairman Dan Gilbert moved his headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010, he brought with him an initial 1,700 workers. Today, Quicken says it employs 17,000 people downtown.
Sometimes a geographic region becomes home to a certain industry for easy-to-see reasons. New York City, long the center of stock market operators and financial innovation, is the natural home of the country’s economic exchanges. The large seaports become centers of trade and commerce.
Detroit became the center of automobile production in the early 1900s thanks to a confluence of luck – the presence of marine engine mechanics who had worked on Great Lakes navigation, including a young Henry Ford; a legacy of building cars, wagons and other wheeled vehicles and skilled craftsmen, and proximity to oil fields in the Midwest that could power Detroit’s new internal combustion engines.
But why mortgages in the Detroit subway? This may remain a mystery, except that some talented people like Ishbia and Gilbert lived here when they saw the possibilities for new efficiencies in mortgages. This was especially true after the financial collapse of the Great Recession which left many more traditional lenders struggling with multiple problems.
Whatever the reason, the Detroit Metro may soon claim another nickname besides Motor City. And the mortgage city?