Better conducts layoffs just weeks after going public

Just weeks after New York-based digital lender Better Home & Finance Holding went public, Better issued pink slips to employees in early September in a new round of layoffs, Insider reported.

Better laid off about a quarter of its U.S. mortgage sales and origination team, according to the news outlet, citing two former employees who were affected by the latest downsizing.

The layoff news comes on the heels of Better going public via special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Aurora Acquisition Corp. in August.

About 75 employees are left on the mortgage origination team in the U.S. as well as some employees in India, according to Insider. 

While Better didn’t respond to HousingWire‘s inquiry about the number of affected employees, spokeswoman Jessica Schaefer told Insider the firm has more than 100 people left on the team. 

Better plans to fill some vacant positions from the layoffs.

“As a publicly listed company, we’re focused on making prudent and disciplined decisions that account for market dynamics so that we can continue to serve both customers and shareholders for the long-term,” Better’s spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement to HousingWire.

“We are hiring more seasoned professionals who can sell in this tough mortgage environment and then making them 10X more productive through our continued investment [in] technologies such as Tinman and One Day Mortgage, which have created efficiencies that streamline and automate nearly every major function of homeownership,” the spokesperson said. 

As of June, Better had 950 team members, a 91% decrease over an 18-month period from 10,400 in Q4 2021, according to its previous filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

While Better was an efficient refi shop during the pandemic years when rates hit record lows, the lender and other independent mortgage banks (IMBs) were hit hard by the Federal Reserve‘s monetary policy.

The digital lender reported a net loss of $45.5 million in Q2, an improvement from a net loss of $89.9 million the previous quarter.

In Q2, Better’s origination volume was $900 million across 2,421 loans, compared to production of $800 million across 2,347 loans funded in Q1.

When Better debuted on Nasdaq in late August, the SPAC deal unlocked $565 million of fresh capital for the unprofitable company.

The digital lender has pivoted its strategy from being a one-stop-shop to becoming a “mortgage-as-a-service” company or a white-label provider of mortgage tech.

“For things like homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, and Realtors, we’ve now just become a marketplace. We match the consumer with a partner capable of delivering the best product to them. So, we ended Better Real Estate for the sake of efficiency and savings for the consumer. We partner with best-in-class agents, insurance companies and title companies,” Better CEO Vishal Garg said in an interview with HousingWire in August.

Better will invest in tech-driven products like One Day Mortgage, a program that will allow customers to apply for a mortgage, get preapproved, lock their rate and receive a mortgage commitment letter within 24 hours.

“We are committed to further developing this technology during an interest rate environment where customers need it the most,” Better’s spokesperson noted.

Better was ranked as the 59th largest lender in Q1 2023, plummeting from the 19th in 2021, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.