OPINION

Letter: In Detroit, another Big Three

Re: Daniel Howes’ Dec. 15 Detroit News’ column, “Smart money, tech savvy looking to ... Detroit”: There’s no doubt that the Detroit business sector has a lot of momentum going its way, especially in the technology world.

Numbers indicate that employment in Metro Detroit’s tech industry is up 15 percent, compared to a 4 percent decline in Silicon Valley. A major chunk of those statistics is centered on the automotive industry. Things like connected and driverless cars are all the rage, and garner a lot of attention from industry folks as well as regional business development and workforce aficionados. The Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program is a major advocate for educating people on the abundance of careers in the local auto tech world.

It’s astonishing how much opportunity exists in the field. But tech pros shouldn’t lose sight of another field full of IT jobs that is ripe for the picking: the mortgage industry.

There is more than one “Big 3” in Metro Detroit as it relates to IT opportunities for individuals utilize their skillset to build innovative tools and platforms that enhance the way that consumers interact with products. Three of the top mortgage companies in the country are headquartered right here in Metro Detroit: Quicken Loans (downtown Detroit), Flagstar Bank (Troy) and United Shore (Troy). Through the first three quarters of 2016, Quicken Loans ranked as the No. 2 retail lender in the country, while Flagstar was the sixth-ranked correspondent lender and United Shore’s wholesale division, United Wholesale Mortgage, was the No. 1 wholesale lender in the nation. And guess what — they’re all hiring, all the time.

The mortgage business is incredibly fast-moving and ultra-competitive. There are hundreds of lenders throughout the country vying to grow market share and increase their bottom line. It has become more clear over the past couple years that technology is the clear differentiator between lenders who are “contenders” versus “pretenders” in the industry. There is a constant demand for talented, driven and high-achieving technology professionals who want to make their mark on the business.

The “Big 3” mortgage companies employ hundreds of IT professionals, and are always looking to add to their respective rosters. United Shore, for example, aims to add more than 20 IT professionals each month as it continues to pursue its rapid growth goals.

The mortgage business might not be as sexy as the automotive industry, but it similarly applies to millions of people around the country.

Brad Pettiford

communications strategist

United Shore