Quicken Loans’ parent makes brilliant digital mortgage investment

Rock Holdings, the parent of megamortgage lender Quicken Loans just made an investment in a Canadian startup called Edison Financial, and the implications are huge. 

First, the history of the deal in a nutshell. Two years ago, a man named Hash Aboulhosn was founding Edison Financial. Less than a year ago, Rock acquired Lendesk, a digital mortgage broker-to-lender network. When Rock bought Lendesk, Aboulhosn had left Edison to serve as the CFO of Lendesk. Now, apparently Rock has put Aboulhosn back at Edison, the company he founded, which is a digital mortgage firm that has applied for a mortgage brokerage license in Ontario. Got it? Rings a tad bit of Jobsian musical chairs.

Anyhow. Personal and professional histories aside, why would Rock invest in a foreign company? This move is part of Rock’s strategy to expand into the Canadian mortgage market, which is currently dominated by just a handful of banks. As part of the deal, Edison is actually now located right across the Detroit River from Quicken Loans. Edison will also lease dedicated office space at the Rocket Innovation Studios located in Windsor, Ontario (Detroit’s neighbor to the North), according to this release. So they’re practically neighbors, eh?

The investment is a master chess move. The Canadian mortgage market is bereft of investment and innovation and in dire need of serious competition to shake things up. But we need to be careful what we wish for. As we all know, Quicken Loans is a formidable and intense competitor. If the Canadian mortgage market doesn’t wake up soon, lending will no longer be concentrated among a few lenders, but rather dominated by one, massive nonbank.

We say stay tuned.

Goldman Sachs will no longer broker male-only IPOs

Well, looky-looky who’s woken up and smelled the coffee. Diversity at the board level, or at any company level, is known to produce better results. In fact, companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits. And now, Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs is willing to bank on that, literally.

According to the NY Post, Goldman chief executive David Solomon said the Wall Street giant won’t take any company public unless it has at least one “diverse” board member.

“I look back at IPOs over the last four years and the performance of IPOs, [when] it’s been a woman on the board, in the US is significantly better than the performance of IPOs where there hasn’t been a woman on the board,” Solomon said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“So starting on July 1st in the US and Europe, we’re not going to take a company public unless there’s at least one diverse board candidate with a focus on women.”

Bravo (and good morning!), Goldman.

Freedom Mortgage pays it forward, big time

Here are some wow numbers: In 2019, Freedom Mortgage closed more than 213,000 mortgages nationwide, totaling over $57 billion in origination volume. In addition to 2019 being the company’s best year, Freedom Mortgage set a quarterly record with over $17 billion in volume, representing over 63,000 closed loans. Freedom Mortgage also currently services over 1.1 million homeowners across the country, representing over $220 billion in mortgage loans.

As if those numbers aren’t impressive enough, get a load of the cool thing Freedom Mortgage does when things are going this well. They pay it forward

Last year, the company collected and distributed over 5,800 backpacks and school supplies for military families across the country through various USOs around the country. Their Team Freedom Cares Food Drive collected over 47,000 cans of food – a whopping 28 tons – for Feeding America food banks in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. That’s nine tons more than last year, when the company collected approximately 32,000 cans of food. Staffers also delivered more than 3,000 toys to charities serving families in need during the holiday season.

“Giving back to military veterans and their families and helping those less fortunate is such an important part of our mission,” said Freedom Mortgage CEO Stanley C. Middleman. “I’m proud of all the work we do and the generous nature of the entire Freedom family. Everyone is always ready to step up and lend a hand. Next year, we look forward to delivering even more help and smiles to those who need it most—not just during the holidays, but all year long.”

Thank you for being a shining example of humanity, Freedom Mortgage. Efforts such as yours simply don’t get enough publicity these days.

Incidentally, you can see Freedom’s Chief Digital Officer Julie Lane (a homegrown NEXT aluma), on stage at #NEXTWINTER20. She’ll be giving back (no surprise there!) by sharing her hard won insights in NEXT’s 20 Minute Mentor series, sponsored by Freddie Mac.

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