United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has announced the hires of Blake Kolo (CPA, CVA, CFE, CFF) as Chief Business Officer and Lee Jelenic as Chief Innovation Officer. Kolo most recently served as a Managing Director and Leadership Advisor for the Wilmington, Delaware-based Siegfried Group. Jelenic was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Commercial Solutions, a division of Ford Motor Company.
Kolo and Jelenic will focus mainly on continuous improvement including product innovation, business growth, and continuing to advance UWM as well as the mortgage broker channel.
“We are ecstatic to add a pair of innovative leaders to our team. Blake and Lee are exactly the kind of people who will help lead UWM into the future and they are fully committed to helping our mortgage broker partners grow,” said Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of UWM. “They are in complete alignment with our company from a leadership vision and culture standpoint.”
In Kolo’s six-year tenure at The Siegfried Group, the company’s Detroit office brought in 40+ new clients, a quarter of which were Fortune 500 companies. He also grew the Detroit office from a team of less than 10 to nearly 40, while coordinating a move to a full-time office space at One Woodward in Detroit. Kolo was promoted to Managing Director in under 3 years, one of the quickest appointments to that positon in company history.
“Joining a dynamic company like UWM is a unique opportunity,” Kolo said. “Seeing how they’ve elevated their business to become a top mortgage lender has been impressive to say the least. The atmosphere at UWM is unlike anything I’ve been around before. I’m excited to be part of a great team that is so driven to succeed and is constantly finding new ways to raise the bar in the mortgage lending industry.”
Jelenic spent 11 years at Ford Motor Company, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Ford Commercial Solutions (FCS), a new business unit within Ford Smart Mobility focusing on creating value for commercial customers. He also served as Vice President of Marketing at the Ford Motor Credit Company where he led global marketing as well as Fintech and new business development. Jelenic also led various acquisition and strategic investments at Ford Credit. Previously, he spent 4 years in Capital Markets at JP Morgan.
“To see what UWM has done over the last few years has been remarkable. By positioning itself as the mortgage industry’s technology leader, UWM is providing brokers with the resources they need to continue to grow market share,” Jelenic said. “I’m thrilled to join a company that has experienced a meteoric rise to become one of the nation’s top lenders and I can’t wait to help UWM and mortgage brokers climb even higher for many years to come.”
UWM has separated itself as the dominant force in wholesale mortgage lending, finishing as the No. 1 wholesale lender in America for four straight years. In 2018, UWM grew its loan volume by 41%, outpacing every other retail and wholesale lender in the country. On top of that, UWM was the fastest growing lender (wholesale or retail) in the entire mortgage market for 2018. Through the first quarter of 2019, UWM continued trending upward, increasing production by 114%.
The company has long been recognized as the premier advocate for pro-broker initiatives, and has led the charge to nationally tout mortgage brokers as the best option for consumers.