UWM, Rocket, and thousands of workers were laid off in 2022
In financial disclosures, two of the largest lenders in the industry revealed that they had laid off thousands of employees in 2022. According to earnings reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week, Rocket Cos. lost approximately 29% of its team members while United Wholesale Mortgage’s payroll fell by a quarter. These reductions were due to reports of a sliding performance by lenders to close the year. However, their origination activities remained the best in the market. Friday’s statements by both firms stated that the reductions were not a result of layoffs. In the past 12 months, industry players have lost over 20,000 jobs as interest rates have risen to levels that are higher than the record lows reached during the pandemic’s first stages. Rocket Cos. reported that it had 18,500 employees in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as of December 31, 2022. This is down from the 26,000 staff it closed 2021. Two voluntary buyouts were announced by the megalender last year, in April and August. The first targeted 8% of its title and mortgage workers. Rocket revealed that it had laid off 70 employees in January. Rocket has not disclosed the number of employees who accepted voluntary buyouts. The firm also rejected claims from former employees that it had laid off more workers last year. Rocket’s spokesperson said Friday that the company offered a voluntary career program to select employees, focusing on its responsibility to provide pathways to success. “Those who chose this option were awarded significant cash incentives, extended health care, and other benefits. The statement said that the company also “selectedly backfilled critical positions” when staff left to ensure it was in line with market demand. Rocket reported a loss of $493 million in the last three months of 2022. According to SEC filings, Rocket also saw a reduction in its total expenses of $202 million between third and fourth quarters. Its total expenses decreased from $6.7 billion in 2021 to $5.1 Billion in 2022. According to SEC filings, Rocket also saw a 16% annual decrease in salaries, commissions, and team member benefits to $2.8 billion by 2022. In an earnings call this week, CEO Mat Ishbia stated that the wholesale leader has never experienced a layoff in its 37 year history. Friday morning, a company spokesperson reiterated this point. They stated that “based on market conditions, it is no longer necessary to hire aggressively to expand our business and support clients.” Our team member count has stabilized through natural attrition due to various reasons, such as relocation, family commitments, etc. The company also stated that its hiring class now includes 50 to 100 members, compared to 400 to 500 in the past. The Pontiac, Michigan-based firm ended the year with a $62.5m net loss for the fourth quarter, which included a $150.8m decrease in the fair value mortgage servicing rights. Rocket was able to surpass UWM in total origination volume throughout the year, but it maintained its title as the nation’s top mortgage lender. According to earnings reports, UWM’s salaries and commissions fell 12% quarterly. They earned $118 million in the last three months of the year. Its total expenses increased to $1.43 billion in 2022, from $1.39 billion 2021.