The Godfather & The Architect: The History & Future of How & Why Mortgage Brokers Are Better (With Mat Ishbia & Willie Newman) – Episode 119

Posted June 7, 2022

Two powerhouse lending leaders of the wholesale channel sit down for this monumental meeting of the minds to discuss the history and the future of wholesale mortgage lending and why they have given up on a retail division, deciding instead to go all-in on mortgage brokers. UWM President and CEO Mat Ishbia and Homepoint President & CEO Willie Newman talk about the facts that prove why the wholesale channel is not just better for brokers, but better for REALTORs, real estate agents, and, most importantly, better for borrowers. 

But Mat and Willie aren’t just here to SAY that brokers are better. They have the irrefutable evidence to prove it. 2018, 2019, and 2020 HMDA data shows that lower upfront costs and lower rates leading to lower payments over time lead to an average of $8,000 in savings for each consumer who uses a mortgage broker instead of a retail banker. Mortgage brokers also go out of their way to help those disproportionately ignored by the big retail banks. Whether it’s loans that take more time and are harder to close as a result of borrowers’ bruised credit scores or low-moderate incomes, or if it’s borrowers who are disproportionately ignored during the homebuying process like BIPOC or military veterans, brokers consistently go above and beyond to help their neighbors. Independent mortgage brokers are located in the communities they serve, sitting alongside the same little league games and waiting in the same lines at the grocery store as the homeowners with which they helped purchase their dream home. 

Willie Newman likes to say, “I was there at the beginning.” Before Willie’s mentor Stan Rhodes molded the concept of the modern-day mortgage broker in the 80s as a result of the Savings & Loans crisis, most mortgage brokers only did hard money loans for unique loan scenarios. Understanding that dislocation creates opportunity, Rhodes utilized the influx of loan officers let go after the S&L crisis to catapult his small lending institution into a top 5 national originator. 

Mat Ishbia shares a similar story when it comes to the growth of United Wholesale Mortgage. When Mat came aboard, UWM had a staff of 12 people. After learning every side of the business, working in operations, marketing, and as an AE, Ishbia purchased the company. Deciding to focus exclusively on wholesale, Mat has since grown UWM to 8,000+ employees.

The fallout of the 2008-2009 financial crisis and market crash disproportionately affected mortgage brokers compared to retail banks. And while it’s always easier to point fingers and blame outside sources, mortgage brokers instead looked inward and have since built back their book of business around tighter restrictions and lower margins. These mass layoffs we are now seeing from retail banks and lending institutions are a result of their infrastructures being built around bloated margins and higher interest rates. 

Before the crash, back when each brokerage was on its own with little to no support, mortgage brokers held a 50%+ market share. Now with the support of AIME and broker-focused lenders like Homepoint and UWM, mortgage brokers are set up to succeed long-term like they never were before. They have the technology, service, support, and partnerships of the leading lenders in wholesale and will be able to utilize these advantages to take back the majority of the market share. And unlike retail, where the banks and lenders hold their employees accountable, it’s the brokers who have the power. Ishbia and Newman both agree that it’s up to them to win each broker’s business, not the other way around. If a broker doesn’t like a certain lender’s pricing, technology, or servicing, then there are dozens of other lenders through which brokers can shop their loan.

Mat and Willie also understand that it’s not exactly easy to make the transition from retail-to-wholesale when you have lots of loans in your pipeline, but they emphasize that now is the time to make the switch. And if you don’t like it after a year, there are dozens of retail lenders who would happily welcome you back, but “no one ever goes back,” Matt says.  Whether you want to open up your own shop or join a pre-existence brokerage, wholesale is the place to be. You have more options, better rates, and can create a better lifestyle for you and your family. 

Mat Ishbia calls Willie Newman the Godfather of the broker channel because he was there at the beginning and helped shape the origins of wholesale. Willie Newman credits Mat Ishbia as the architect of the current state of the wholesale channel by being the first lender to go all-in on brokers before anyone else believed in them post-crisis. Together, they don’t just want to help bring more loan officers to the wholesale channel but help all current mortgage brokers be able to do more loans. With a singular focus in mind, Homepoint and UWM plan on spearheading the future of wholesale mortgages by exclusively supporting the independent originator.

At the end of the day, it’s all quite simple. The people preach it. The facts prove it. Brokers. Are. Better. 


  • (1:07) History Of Wholesale
  • (10:57) Financial Crisis Fallout
  • (15:50) Future of Wholesale

This Episode Is Sponsored By AIME, Homepoint, & UWM

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