UWM’s controversial mortgage site now an official NBA partner

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Lawsuit alleges search results on Mortgage Matchup are “designed to steer borrowers to brokers who funnel nearly all their business to UWM, regardless of whether UWM offers the most competitive loan terms.”

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Forget the Super Bowl — the NBA is now where it’s at for wholesale lending giant United Wholesale Mortgage’s efforts to market mortgage brokers as the best way to find a loan.

UWM’s consumer-facing Mortgage Matchup website — a searchable database that helps consumers find a local mortgage broker — is the official mortgage partner of the NBA and WNBA, the leagues and UWM announced jointly Thursday.

But Mortgage Matchup also features prominently in a lawsuit alleging UWM has “corrupted” mortgage brokers by prohibiting them from sending business to competitors.

Search results on MortgageMatchup.com are “designed to steer borrowers to brokers who funnel nearly all their business to UWM, regardless of whether UWM offers the most competitive loan terms,” the lawsuit claims. “Conversely, brokers who do not funnel loans to UWM can expect UWM … to decrease the number of borrowers that seek their services.”

UWM, the NBA and the WNBA did not respond to requests for comment about those accusations.

Originally launched as FindAMortgageBroker.com in 2015 by Woodward Loop Properties LLC, UWM took control of the site in 2018 and rebranded it as Mortgage Matchup in January.

Before rebranding the site, UWM promoted it in ads that aired during the 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls that helped UWM surpass its rival Rocket Mortgage — also a prominent Super Bowl advertiser dating back to the days when it was known as Quicken Loans.

But with UWM CEO Mat Ishbia acquiring the Phoenix Suns and its sister WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, last year, UWM’s beef with Rocket has moved onto the basketball court. Dan Gilbert, the co-founder and chairman of Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, Rocket Companies, is the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

UWM has denied the allegations in the lawsuit, which center around an ultimatum the company issued to mortgage brokers in 2021. The “All In” policy prohibited mortgage brokers who wanted to continue doing business with UWM from sending loan applications to rivals Rocket Mortgage or Fairway Independent Mortgage.

Ishbia has gone a step further, claiming Rocket and Dan Gilbert are somehow behind the allegations against UWM, which were initially leveled by Hunterbrook Media, a newly formed company funded by a hedge fund that’s taken a short position in UWM.

Rocket and Hunterbrook Media have called Ishbia’s accusations, which he made in April to a sports reporter who covers the Phoenix Suns, baseless.

Before making its April 2 report on UWM public, Hunterbrook Media provided its data analysis and research to the New York City-based law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which filed a complaint against UMW the same day seeking class-action status to represent borrowers allegedly harmed by UWM’s practices.

MortgageMatchup.com features prominently in the complaint, which points to UWM’s website to back allegations that the site uses an algorithm that favors mortgage brokers who send most of their business to UWM.

According to UWM, mortgage brokers can boost their “PRO Ranking” by submitting loan applications to UWM, visiting UWM’s campus, communicating with UWM account executives, and engaging with UWM’s content online.

“The higher your PRO Score the quicker your turn times will be and the more visibility you’ll have on Mortgage Matchup,” UWM says on its own website.

In a press release, the leagues said Mortgage Matchup “will receive media exposure across a variety of league platforms, including through on-court virtual signage during NBA and WNBA national broadcasts as well as the leagues’ official social and digital platforms.”

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