Quicken Loans becomes largest U.S. mortgage lender

Candice Williams

Quicken Loans Inc. has become the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, the Detroit-based lender said Thursday.

The company said that in the fourth quarter of 2017, it originated $25 billion in home loans, surpassing Wells Fargo’s $23 billion during that same period.

It’s the first time Quicken has been the top lender in a quarter, company CEO Jay Farner said.

“If you think about the landscape, for many years banks like Wells Fargo — which has been in business for over 150 years — or J.P. Morgan Chase ... these are longtime institutions that have been on the top of the charts,” Farner said. “We’re a company that started here just 32 years ago, obviously founded in the Detroit area, so we’re quite a bit different than these banks.”

He said technology has allowed the company to innovate and accelerate its growth over the past few years.

Trailing Quicken and Wells Fargo during the fourth quarter were Bank of America Corp. with $13 billion in home-loan originations, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. with $11 million.

Tom Goyda, spokesman for Wells Fargo, said in an emailed statement Thursday that “customers benefit from a healthy and competitive marketplace for home financing.”

The top position in residential mortgage lending changes, but the trend in mortgage banking has shifted from banks to non-depositories or independent mortgage bankers such as Quicken, said Les Parker, a mortgage industry expert and senior vice president of LoanLogics.

“(Independent mortgage bankers) have proven they can generate a loan at a lower cost than banks,” he said. “Quicken is a good example of a company bringing scale to mortgage banking.”

The challenge ahead, Parker continued, is how independent mortgage bankers fare “when the winds and rain of interest-rate volatility stress their financial statement.”

Farner expects Quicken to continue to grow. The company services roughly 98 percent of the loans it originates, he said.

“If you listen to your client and you think about their needs, and then you support your team members so we can continue to revolutionize how the mortgage experience is done here in the country, we think that over the long haul anybody who has that kind of focus should remain the leader in the space,” Farner said.

Two years ago, Quicken launched Rocket Mortgage, which lets borrowers apply for mortgages on smartphones and be approved in as few as eight minutes. A Super Bowl commercial promoted Rocket Mortgage in 2016.

The company will build on its promotion of the technology Sunday when it airs a 60-second commercial during the second quarter of the game.

Farner said it’s a commercial “that speaks to — in a humorous way — the complexities of the mortgage process, and we and our Rocket Mortgage product in particular takes that and simplifies that in a really creative and funny way that I think will resonate with people... There are certainly some Detroit threads we pull through this spot. I think it will be well received, but I think people from Detroit in particular will like the spot.”

The Super Bowl commercial will kick off a full-year promotional campaign that includes the use of social media.


Twitter: @CWilliams_DN