Rocket Mortgage plans to have 500 remote LOs by the end of 2023

Though its overall mortgage strategy has apparently not changed, Rocket Mortgage is undoubtedly ramping up its initiative to hire local loan officers to win purchase business. 

The Detroit-based lender plans to recruit up to 500 LOs by the end of 2023, more than triple the current local LO pool.

“Rocket has already hired 150 (locally based mortgage loan originators) field reps,” said Laine Kostegian, strategic sales director at Rocket, said at Inman Connect, per mortgage broker Jeff Lazerson, who wrote an opinion column in the Orange County Register. “We’ll have 500 by the end of the year.”

Kostegian added that about 5,000 approved insurance agents can also originate a mortgage with Rocket, Lazerson wrote.

Rocket didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Kostegian’s comments offer insight into the scope of Rocket’s remote local loan officer program.

HousingWire previously reported that the Detroit-based lender hired about 150 remote local loan officers. The feature, published earlier this month, noted that Rocket embarked on a local LO hiring spree in 2023 to capture purchase market business from real estate agent connections.

Bill Emerson, interim CEO of parent Rocket Companies, said in the company’s second quarter earnings call that its overall mortgage strategy remains focused on direct-to-consumer (DTC) and third-party originations (TPO) channels. 

However, Emerson pointed out that referral numbers to Rocket Homes went up significantly in the second quarter. 

“That indicates to us that Realtors are interested in what we have to offer and passing that on to their clients (…) We have been excited to see that increase. I know Rocket Homes has been happy to see it. So it seems like the real estate community is reacting positively to this particular program,” Emerson told analysts. 

Rocket said its purchase market share grew in both the DTC and TPO channels quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, without providing a breakdown of its purchase business versus refis in its earnings report.

The Detroit-based lender generated $22.3 billion in origination volume in Q2, up about 31% from $17 billion in the prior quarter

Data from Inside Mortgage Finance (IMF) showed Rocket’s share of the purchase business jumped to 55% in the first three months of 2023.

By the end of 2021 – when refi business was still abundant – less than 20% of Rocket’s production came from purchase mortgages.

Rocket’s purchase business share still lags behind the top 50 mortgage lenders’ average of 84.7%, but its purchase volume in the first quarter came in at $9.4 billion, good for third on IMF’s rankings.