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RocketPro’s Mike Fawaz on Deepening Broker Relationships, Expanding Purchase Market

When a market is contracting and volume is starting to decline what do well-run companies do? Some might take consolation in the fact that, although absolute business is down, their market share is growing and they’re positioning themselves to take advantage of the next upturn.

Rocket Loans 150x150The really good companies, however, don’t look to be consoled. They lead, innovate, find ways to make things better, and bring their partners with them. That’s what Rocket Mortgage is aiming to do with its most recent move, according to Mike Fawaz, EVP of RocketPro TPO.

Rocket recently rolled out its third in a series of loan programs designed to expand the pool of potential borrowers. Rocket estimates this new program, called One+, will have 90 million people who meet the income requirements. The program requires that earnings be equal to, or less than, 80% of the area median income (AMI). With median incomes rising 19.2% over the last three years, the number of borrowers falling into eligible AMI guidelines is growing.

Over the last year, the industry has become purchase driven, and all three of these programs focus on expanding the purchase market. While the previous Purchase Plus and Borrower Smart programs had geographic limitations, the One+ program is available nationwide.

With One+, the homeowner only has to make a 1% down payment. Rocket Mortgage covers the remaining 2% needed for conventional loans. Rocket also eliminates the monthly mortgage insurance fees typically required for conventional loans with a higher than 80% LTV.

“We are stepping up to the plate and making sure there are products that communities can take advantage of. We are innovating, helping our brokers have conversations, create interest and build excitement” said Fawaz.

Let’s face it, these days anything that can get people–not just brokers, but borrowers and realtors as well–feeling good is a big plus. “I just came from our All Access gathering of mortgage brokers and realtors,” Fawaz says. “The excitement around this program was incredible. Everybody wanted to talk about One+. I must have had about 400 brokers and another 100 realtors asking me about it”.

According to Fannie Mae’s recently released survey, the number of people thinking that now is a good time to buy is almost at a survey low due to affordability concerns. Finding ways to address these concerns is one step toward getting mortgage volumes increasing. But it is also a beacon that lets brokers and borrowers know that there are still people looking out for them, trying to help them address their challenges and still an industry that is very good at adapting and innovating.

Supporting Brokers Who Want to Break Their UWM Agreement

When asked how the program to indemnify brokers who wanted to break their United Wholesale Mortgage agreement is going, Fawaz said “I came to this country 20 years ago because I wanted freedom. Rocket Mortgage and I both felt it was important to step up and show brokers we were willing to give them freedom. How has it gone? In the first quarter we had one of our best quarters in terms of signing up brokers”.

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