UWM accepts cryptocurrencies for mortgages in pilot, stops short of broader use

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

United Wholesale Mortgage Holdings Corp. on Thursday said it made due on its expectation to accept cryptocurrencies for mortgages, but the payments will not extend beyond a pilot for now.

The Pontiac-based mortgage giant in September accepted its first cryptocurrency payment, which it says is the first transaction of its kind in the industry. It accepted another five payments through cryptocurrencies in October, but because of "incremental costs and regulatory uncertainty" of the digital currencies, the company won't broadly accept Bitcoin, Dogecoin or Ethereum for now, CEO Mat Ishbia said in a statement.

United Wholesale Mortgage is based in Pontiac.

"We're proud to be the first mortgage lender to successfully pilot this technology and further demonstrate that we're innovating for the long term," Ishbia said. "As we said last quarter, we were going to look into accepting cryptocurrency and test it to see if it's a faster, easier and cheaper solution and thanks to our innovative technology team members, the transactions were successful."

A growing number of companies are accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, including AT&T Inc., The Home Depot Inc., Microsoft Corp., Overstock.com Inc. and Starbucks Corp. Tesla Inc. also briefly accepted digital currency for payments earlier this year, but stopped in May ,with CEO Elon Musk saying it was due to the amount of fossil fuel-generated energy the mining of cryptocurrencies uses.

The value of Bitcoin has nearly doubled year-to-date, and Ethereum and Dodgecoin have multiplied their value since Jan. 1.

Ishbia shared UWM's explorations to accept Bitcoin during a second-quarter earnings conference call. It has about 1,200 employees in information technology that also has helped it to roll out new offerings, including Bolt, a self-service platform that allows qualified borrowers to get initial approval for a loan in 15 minutes that the company announced last month.


Twitter: @BreanaCNoble