What’s next when you already have the top consumer-facing company in the industry? When your commercials air during every nationally televised basketball game?
If you’re Quicken Loans, you forge new ways to expand your reach and services.
Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS) has been around for nine years, but recently has been powering up efforts to grow its number of broker and regional partners. In the past three months, they have added 1,000 new partners. After starting 2019 with 3,000 partners, they expect to grow to more than 5,000 by the end of the year.
David Schroeder is the senior vice president of QLMS leading the charge. During a recent conversation with Mortgage Media, he covered a lot of ground, sharing how Quicken Loans has been able to extend its reach in the broker market so quickly, the challenges it faces in building the B2B relationships and how its manages a huge increase in volume.
Quicken Loans’ Broker Push
Schroeder points to the success that Quicken Loans has had with its retail side, and being able to use “that same power that’s been so instrumental in our success, and putting it in the broker-bank-credit union hands for their clients.”
The division has been around for almost a decade,and is growing rapidly. According to Schroeder, QLMS is “the fastest-growing mortgage lender serving the needs of brokers, regional banks and credit unions, setting new records almost daily. To put this in context, QLMS is on pace to close more than 3-times its volume from 2018.”
Schroeder laid out how the growth has scaled remarkably easily, in part because of Quicken Loans’ existing workforce, and its ability to reroute workflows to support the channel.
“With anything, you get more comfortable as you go. As a new effort for Quicken Loans nine years ago we came out of the gates very quickly with the timing of HARP, because there’s so much power of scale in what we’re doing,” Schroeder said. As they built the infrastructure, they looked for opportunities in the market where they could differentiate themselves and find power within a marketplace.
“I would say that Rocket Mortgage is clearly something that captured people’s imagination a few years ago. And that really set up for us a three-pronged approach, if you will, to serve every client in America who’s looking for a mortgage.”
Quicken Loans’ Three-Pronged Approach
The first bucket of homebuyers, Schroeder says, does everything digitally.
“There’s going to be folks that are interested in doing a mortgage completely online. You can call that the Amazon kind of experience and clearly that’s emerging. It’s a smaller portion of the population today, but it’s growing and we’re understanding that. We’re at the front edge of that, and everybody is doing that at different levels.”
The second segment, Schroeder says, is where Quicken Loans has historically met with success – where consumers are looking for a trusted national brand that they can reach directly over the phone.
The third is the group of consumers who love all that technology can do for them and, at the same time, “they’re just more comfortable dealing with somebody locally who either speaks their dialect, can meet with face to face, or they want the powerful optionality provided by brokers. And that’s not going away.”
Schroeder says QLMS is excited to serve “that leg of the stool.”
He says there is an understanding of the things that Quicken Loans does well that can benefit brokers, as well as the unique things that need developing. “Thanks to the resources and the liquidity we have, we’re in a position to develop the things our partners are looking for to help expand this market.”
Fragmented Market Leads to Cross-Channel Process
The question was posed if brokers are judging Quicken Loans as competition for their services, with consumers often choosing between using brokers’ services, or doing it themselves online. Why would brokers, credit unions and regional partners work with a lender that was taking so many loans direct to consumer?
“Even with the incredible success that Quicken Loans has had, it’s still a highly fragmented market,” Schroeder said. “There’s so much competition in the marketplace – which is what’s great for consumers.”
Even as the top mortgage lender, Quicken Loans still makes up less than 10 percent of the overall national loan volume – still lots of room for growth. “You’d look at that and say ‘Hey look, nine out of ten mortgages in country are currently going to somebody else.’”
According to Schroeder, if a loan gets submitted directly through Rocket Mortgage, and then the broker submits it to QLMS, in nearly all cases, that loan gets released by the retail team. The client gets advised to work with the broker. “We’re letting that go to the local broker on the assumption – and the data proof – that once somebody is working locally, in most cases they are going to stick with that.”
He also says it’s really a powerful benefit for partners to work with Quicken Loans, because they are removing, and leveraging the incredible brand, of a major market competitor at a very early stage.
He described digital mortgages as “a bigger trend in society, bigger than any one lender. People want to be able to self-serve no matter what they’re doing.”
The flip side of that, is that a home purchase is the biggest financial decision most people are going to make in their lives.
“Many consumers still want to talk to somebody. That’s where I think it’s really important for people to wrap their head around what the digital revolution looks like in the mortgage space. It’s just about speed and choice – being available where consumers want to interact.”
While explaining that the digital revolution will never take away the role of the loan officer, he points to a saying he attributes to Quicken Loans President Bob Walters, “let computers do what computers do well, and humans do what humans do well.”
“What humans do really well is forming relationships, and empathizing with people. Computers run calculations and process data. That’s what we’re seeing develop.” Schroeder also referenced a quote from another industry expert, Barry Habib, saying, “The less advice you give, the less of an advisor you are.”