Rocket Pro TPO is diversifying its product portfolio by offering home equity loans to brokers by mid-September amid increased competition in the wholesale channel. The move follows Rocket Mortgage‘s rolled of home equity loans in August as the firm tries to capitalize on Americans’ strong home equity positions.
With the Rocket Pro TPO product, homeowners can access to up to $350,000 of their home’s equity in a 10- or 20-year fixed-rate loan with a loan-to-value ratio of up to 90%, the company said.
“It’s perfect timing to provide a solution to brokers who then can provide a solution for Americans to tap into that equity at a time they need it most while keeping that very low interest rate many have on their mortgage,” said Austin Niemiec, executive vice president of Rocket Pro TPO.
The amount of tappable home equity nationally hit $11.5 trillion in the second quarter, after accounting for homeowners retaining at least 10% equity, according to Black Knight’s Mortgage Monitor report.
At the end of the second quarter, the average U.S. homeowner had $216,00 in tappable equity, up 5% at $9,700 from the previous quarter, Andy Walden, vice president of enterprise research and strategy at Black Knight wrote in a recent report.
Home equity lending, an area traditionally dominated by depository banks, is becoming popular at non-depository banks as consumers are increasingly interested in home equity loans and home equity line of credit (HELOC) products to leverage theirr rising home values.
Rocket Pro TPO’s home equity loan offerings follow United Wholesale Mortgage’s ‘Game On’ pricing initiative that cut prices between 50 basis points to 100 bps across all mortgage products. While UWM’s goal is to increase market share by courting more brokers, it’s wreaking havoc on other lenders, forcing some to exit the wholesale channel.
When asked about how Rocket Pro TPO has been affected by UWM’s aggressive pricing, Niemiec emphasized consistency and growth for its brokers.
“We’re focused on our partners in the best way we can help them grow long term and consistently,” said Niemiec. “We really pride ourselves on being reliable. We don’t like to play games or gimmicks, temporary flash things for marketing purposes.”
More than a year ago, UWM issued an ultimatum to brokers, setting out to hobble Rocket, the nation’s largest lender, in the wholesale space.
Starting in March 2021, UWM’s policy forbid brokers who sent loans to Rocket Pro TPO and Fairway Independent Mortgage from also working with UWM. Mat Ishbia, CEO of UWM, said the move was about protecting the broker space, while Rocket and Fairway said it was a cutthroat tactic to cut down competitors.