Stewart Title president quits and gets big payday

Stewart Information Services Corporation, the parent of Stewart Title, announced that Matthew Morris, President and former Chief Executive Officer was quitting, effective immediately.

Morris will continue to serve as a member of Stewart’s Board of Directors. In addition, Morris will provide advisory services to the company and to new CEO Fred Eppinger throughout the next six months, for which he will get paid $25,000 per month, according to coverage in the Houston Business Journal. But that’s not all, according to the SEC filing on his departure, Morris will receive a severance of $1.23 million.

The Title Report explains some of the back story: “The last executive of the Morris family that has been with Stewart Title for most of the company’s 127-year history has announced his departure.”

“I have been very pleased with Fred’s integration into Stewart and grateful for a seamless transition as the company makes bold plans for the future,” said Morris in a statement. “I look forward to working with my fellow Board members to help Fred and the Stewart team execute on his strategic vision. It has been my deepest honor and privilege to serve this great company over the last fifteen years. I’m proud of what we have accomplished together and am confident in Stewart’s industry leading position moving forward.”





UWM vies for #1 but Quicken Loans plans to hold its spot

United Wholesale Mortgage is racing to the front and has the nation’s #1 mortgage lender directly in its sights. But current #1 Quicken Loans isn’t ready to relent and looks to be digging in and leaning into the curve.

It’s well known that UWM is currently on a hiring spree and its current office space is in need of expansion. But just how big does United think it can get? Bigger than anyone else, apparently. Even the biggest.

According to the Detroit Free Press, UWM CEO Mat Ishbia thinks he can dethrone Quicken Loans as the nation’s biggest lender. “And Quicken, better-known on the national stage, has been working to thwart Ishbia’s dream, expanding fast in a segment of the business that involves mortgage brokers and has been United Shore’s sole focus in recent years.”

So the race is on. Ishbia is going full throttle to the finish line, though he admits there are some challenges. “We make a lot less per deal,” Ishbia said. “That’s another reason why (lenders) don’t just do wholesale. They think they can’t make much money in wholesale.”

Well, Mr. Ishbia, you’re doing something right. (Grabs popcorn.)

Warren tweet promises to erase major barrier to homeownership 

Student loan debt numbers are shocking. And they are impacting the mortgage industry. Our younger generations owe more than $1.6 trillion (think about that: trillion) and can’t seem to pay it down.

Student loan burdens are a common hurdle to homeownership as it prevents college grads from building up enough cash to make a down payment. 

According to CNBC, that total indebtedness over the past year or so has stopped its meteoric rise, according to a study that Moody’s Investors Service released Thursday. “Nevertheless, the study showed a number of factors are constraining borrowers from lightening their loads,” the article states. “Outstanding loans total more than $1.6 trillion, more than doubling over the last decade and tripling since 2006.”

This is leading to the issue becoming a foundation for some presidential campaigns, and candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted: “Student loan debt is a crisis—and it’s only growing larger. This is crushing an entire generation and holding back our economy. That’s why I will act on day one of my presidency to start cancelling student debt and getting relief to families.”

It’s a big promise, so we’ll reserve judgment only to say that, with $1.6 trillion in debt supporting a major cottage industry of private loan servicing firms, all with lobbying influence, it will be a major challenge to anyone to cancel this much debt.

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