Rocket Pro TPO, the wholesale arm of Rocket Mortgage, hopes to woo brokers with a slew of product enhancements and services.
Rocket Pro TPO‘s executive vice president Mike Fawaz shared major changes and commitments for the broker community at its IGNITE Live event on Monday afternoon.
Rocket Pro TPO affirmed that it will continue to provide credit reports at no cost for brokers when closing loans through Rocket recognizing that credit report fees are going to get more expensive this year.
This is an extension of the Fee Freedom initiative Rocket launched in January 2023, which provided credit reports for its broker partners at no cost.
“The feedback (from the Fee Freedom initiative) has been incredible from brokers because it helped them to be able to save money on a monthly basis, spend on marketing, spend on tools and things that can help them grow their business,” Fawaz said in an interview with HousingWire on Tuesday.
In 2024, regardless of mortgage lenders’ volume, Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) – the company that retains the rights to the market’s adopted methodology to measure consumer credit risk – will charge one price to all lenders. That price is higher than it was in 2023.
Moving away from the tier-based pricing structure it implemented in early 2023, FICO will also collect the same per score price for soft and hard pulls in 2024.
“As I am also aware of the credit report fees going up again – they started going up early January 2024. So for us, it was a decision of, ‘Do we continue providing this benefit to our broker partners or not?’ Clearly the answer was that we do continue providing benefits to our broker partners.”
Rocket Pro TPO struck a deal with Mobility Market Intelligence (MMI) – a market leader in data intelligence and market insight tools – to slash the price of the data service for Rocket Pro TPO partners starting this month.
MMI’s data covers information on mortgage transactions covering more than 95% of U.S. households that provides visibility into everything that went into a transaction — real estate agents, loan officers, lenders, title agencies and borrower details, according to MMI’s website.
“If you’re a broker partner with Rocket Pro TPO, you’ll be able to receive that service for $100 a month, which is in my opinion incredibly lower and cheaper than anything out there in the market,” said Fawaz.
In an environment of high home prices, lack of inventory and elevated mortgage rates, tackling affordability has been the name of the game for many lenders.
“You saw that 2023 wasn’t a very kind year for all of us — the broker community and wholesale lenders or lenders in general (…) Clearly you’re going to have to look into products that make sense for consumers, to make sense for Americans in today’s market especially with inflation and what’s going on in the market, so affordability comes into play,” noted Fawaz.
Rocket Pro TPO made updates to its ONE+program – a conventional 1% down home loan program that launched in May – which could translate to a 16% increase in client eligibility.
As part of that effort, a verified approval letter (VAL) update hotline is expected to go live this year that will incorporate artificial intelligence, Fawaz said.
With the hotline launch, brokers will be able to make changes to approval letters at any time through a conversation with a generative voice assistant to be able to make adjustments.
“All you have to do is call a phone number that will be dedicated to our broker partners and the system will reply. It will ask you a couple of questions — what’s your loan number and the system will then verify the client’s name and the loan number (…) All you have to do is let its generative AI assistant know what you’re looking to do — you want to update the loan amount, whatever you want to do and within seconds it’s updated. It’s emailed to the brokers and posted on a portal,” said Fawaz.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to AI and generative AI, Fawaz said: “If you can do it for verified approval letters, I’m sure that we can utilize that technology to do it also for loans and [loan] process.”
Fawaz is a “little more optimistic” about the 2024 market, pointing to expectations that the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates and activity from its broker partners.
While Fawaz didn’t mention disclose the company’s Q4 performance in its TPO channel, he remarked that Rocket’s broker partners are leaning into the purchase business.
“Let us focus on delivering value and continue to focus on delivering world-class elite service. Let us earn the partnership because regardless of what the market does, there’s still a mortgage being done somewhere in America and there’s still a mortgage being done on the broker side. And if we can earn the business by providing the lead service, by providing the high level conversations and really truly invest in the broker community, we should earn that business. And if we do, we will be fine and we’ll hit our numbers that and it’ll be a great year,” said Fawaz.