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Quicken, United Shore hiring thousands amid low-interest rates

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred record unemployment numbers, but home mortgage lending leaders say their industry is booming — and they are hiring thousands in Metro Detroit.

Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. and Pontiac-based United Shore Financial Services LLC — the largest originators of home mortgages in the United States — said Thursday they are expanding rapidly their teams in mortgage banking, operations, customer service, technology and more to serve growing demand.

United Shore said it is hiring 1,500 people over the next 90 days. It has brought on 1,100 new employees this year to date.

Interest rates hit a record 3.15% low since 1971 for the week ending Thursday, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., also known as Freddie Mac. The figures have led many homeowners to refinance their mortgages and attracted new buyers, as well. The Mortgage Bankers Association's purchasing index rose 9% year-over-year last week.

Quicken, one of founder Dan Gilbert's portfolio of companies, already has hired more than 1,500 people since mid-March and expects to hire and train another 1,500 over the next two months, including more than 600 recruited interns.

"We are having absolute record-setting business across Quicken Loans and really across a number of our companies," said Mike Malloy, who is head of human resources. He says the company receives thousands of applications each month. "There's been no slowdown."

Quicken Loans said it has hired more than 1,500 people since mid-March and expects to hire and train another 1,500 over the next two months, including more than 600 recruited interns.

United Shore is hiring 1,500 people over the next 90 days. It has brought on 1,100 new employees this year to date. That slowed as the pandemic hit and the company promised to not layoff any workers, said CEO Mat Ishbia, a player on Michigan State University's 2000 national championship-winning basketball team under coach Tom Izzo.

"With all of the uncertainty and the national emergency, we didn't want to rush into things," he said. "Doing a lot of business was not the focus at the time; the focus was on health and safety."

The $100 billion company does more new-home purchases than refinancing. United Shore had anticipated resuming hiring not until the third or fourth quarter, Ishbia said, but rising mortgage activity and rates as low as 2.5% had the company moving up the date. Altogether, the company expects to add 3,600 jobs in 2020

"We expect the best year in company history in growing our company," he said. "We saw Michigan is hurting and thought it was a great time to bring on great people and help to restart this economy."

The privately owned companies did not share details on starting wages, though entry-level, mid-level and some senior-level roles are available. Not all require a college diploma. Job seekers interested can apply online.

Quicken is delivering computers and other technology to its new hires for a virtual training process. United Shore has capabilities to do some online and in-person onboarding procedures depending on the role.

Unlike Quicken, United Shore's United Wholesale Mortgage business does not sell mortgages directly to homebuyers. It sells mortgages through brokers, the middlemen whose job it is to find competitive interest rates from lenders for homebuyers. Quicken also does some wholesale business.

An estimated 2.1 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, including nearly 58,000 in Michigan. That brings running totals since mid-March to about 41 million nationally and 1.5 million in Michigan. In April, 3.6 million U.S. homeowners were past due on their mortgages as of the end of April, the largest number since January 2015, according to mortgage analytics firm Black Knight Inc.

Still, mortgage executives remain optimistic for the future.

Quicken's record $52 billion loan volume in the first quarter included a March monthly record that was beat in April. May also looks strong, and the vast majority of Quicken's customers continue to make their payments, Malloy said.

"We have seen some significant demand there from our clients, which shows that parts of the economy is still strong," he said.

Ishbia expects prices may not grow as fast as they have, though two months of pent-up demand following government stay-at-home orders is contributing to the activity.

"This came quick, but it's not 2008," Ishbia said. "There was a lot of lending and the types of mortgage that should've have been. That's not the situation here. The housing market is strong."

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble