Mat Ishbia is the President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) – the No. 1 wholesale mortgage lender in the nation for five years running and the No. 2 mortgage lender in the nation. Under Mat’s leadership, UWM has soared to new heights, becoming one of the most innovative lenders in the industry. With his focus on supporting independent mortgage brokers across the country and growing the wholesale channel, Mat has taken UWM from a 12-person company to a nearly 7,000 person team working together on one campus in Pontiac, MI. At the end of 2019, UWM broke the all-time record of wholesale volume in one year with over $107.7 billion in mortgage originations while holding its title as the fastest-growing mortgage company in America.
BUILDING A WINNING TEAM
Prior to joining UWM, Mat played for Michigan State’s basketball team for four years – going to three Final Fours and winning the National Championship in 2000. He also spent a year coaching alongside Tom Izzo.
In 2003, Mat left the MSU basketball program to join the company his father founded, United Wholesale Mortgage. He joined UWM as its 12th team member, began his role in operations and learned the mortgage process from the ground up, originating loans and working as an outside account executive.
Over the next 10 years, Mat’s sports background, leadership style, and dedication to a team-focused business approach enabled him to gain record-breaking wholesale market share and rapidly grow UWM into a leading lending operation.
One of Mat’s biggest contributions to the channel was to put mortgage brokers at the center of his business. He accomplished this by bringing all account executives in-house and giving brokers direct access to them, as well as their underwriters and closers. This was a new concept to the industry and something other lenders weren’t yet practicing.
By 2013, Mat was named CEO and the company moved to a larger building to house their rapidly growing staff of 1,200 team members. Growth continued as UWM gained more and more market share, earning their spot as the No.1 wholesale mortgage lender in the country in 2015 (where UWM has remained ever since).
By 2018, UWM had already outgrown their new location and moved once again — this time into a 610,000 square foot building in Pontiac, MI. Within a year, a second building was purchased across the street, adding another 900,000 square feet which would be connected by the nation's largest enclosed pedestrian skywalk.
At the end of 2019, Mat and his now 4,700-person team set a new industry record with $107.7 billion in mortgage loan volume — the most volume by any wholesale lender in history — more than doubling its 2018 mortgage loan volume of $41.5 billion. He also released his first book that year, "Running the Corporate Offense: Lessons in Effective Leadership from the Bench to the Board Room," detailing how his experience on Michigan State University's basketball team helped influence his leadership style and company culture.
Today, Mat is known as the most prominent advocate for mortgage brokers nationwide while promoting the wholesale channel on national platforms such as CNBC, Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance, and Bloomberg TV. During Mat’s time as CEO of the largest wholesale lender, mortgage brokers have experienced more growth than the previous 10+ years. He has been named one of the “Most Influential Mortgage Professionals Under 40” and one of the “25 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals” by National Mortgage Professional magazine. Additional accolades include being named a “Rising Star” and Vanguard Award winner by HousingWire.
UWM is currently home to nearly 7,000 team members and is on pace to close $200B in mortgage volume by EOY 2020.
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
Mat has been heavily involved in supporting the communities that have supported his business success. In 2015, he donated $500,000 to Michigan State University to help create a new faculty fellow position with the Department of Marketing.
In 2016, he launched a charitable program called "Pay It Forward" where UWM team members earn points that are directly converted into dollars donated to community organizations. The program has helped raise nearly a half a million dollars for Metro Detroit charities, many located in Pontiac where UWM’s campus is located.
Mat also turned down $1.9 million in tax breaks that UWM was eligible for in 2018 when moving its headquarters to Pontiac. This money was instead returned to the Oakland County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.