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This former Michigan State University basketball player started selling mortgages in his 20s now he's worth more than $11 billion

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3-min read

United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia joined his dad’s mortgage business after four years of playing (sometimes playing by his own admission) basketball at Michigan State University from 1998 to 2002 under legendary coach Tom Izzo.

And as of today, he not only could consider himself a former man of the hardwood but also a newly minted billionaire.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWMC) — which has its roots in a business started by his father Jeffrey in 1986 — debuted on the New York Stock Exchange after a SPAC deal with Gores Holdings announced in September 2020. Shares fell slightly in the session to $11.28. Even still, Ishbia’s 70% or so stake in the company is now worth more than $11 billion.

The energetic Ishbia — known for weaving his love of sports into driving the company’s culture and spending long nights in his Detroit office — is quick to brush off his billionaire status.

“I look at that [billionaire status] as I focus on success. Money follows success, that’s the scoreboard,” Ishbia said on Yahoo Finance Live. “I haven’t paid attention to what my worth is. I focus on taking care of my team members and helping the mortgage broker channel continue to grow and helping consumers win.”

UWMC
UWMC

Unlike rival Quicken Loans (owned by Rocket Companies) which goes directly to consumers with home loans, United Wholesale Mortgage fronts the cash to brokers who then make loans to prospective homeowners. Judging by the stats and financials of the company, it has been doing well under Ishbia, who assumed the CEO role in 2013.

The company is the largest wholesale mortgage originator in the country, boasting a 33% market share. United originated an astounding $54 billion in mortgages in the third quarter, representing an annualized run rate of $216 billion in volume. Third quarter sales clocked in at $1.83 billion and net income more than $1 billion (yes, this is a profitable company — not the norm for a SPAC deal).

For 2021, the company estimates net revenue of $4.7 billion and $1.7 billion in net income — powered by people upgrading to homes during the pandemic.

Ishbia’s long term goals: overtake Quicken Loans as the number one overall mortgage originator in the country (that could happen in the next few years, Ishbia tells us) and double its market share in the next decade.

As for his father, the younger Ishbia says he hasn’t worked at the company for a while. But he did join his son at the New York Stock Exchange for debut day.

“He laid the principles in place for me to be successful along with the team,” Ishbia said of his dad.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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