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Loan Gilbert and Quicken (economic article)
Given house prices still falling and repossessions still taking place in many parts of the nation, how is it that Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chair of Livland-based Quicken Loans, can say: "We had a record-breaking year, by far in every 2009 class - revenues, mortgages, profitability, everything"? The prey goes to the surviveants in a time of brutality for the residential and mortgages credit world.
Secondly, mortgages have remained low, leading to a surge in homeowner funding that is not turned on its head in terms of credit. Quicken, with what Gilbert called his " geographical agnotic " stance as the nation's largest on-line mortgages provider, is operating in all 50 states. Gilbert reflects on Quicken's performances and the still troubled real estate industry in an extensive phone call on Monday from Ohio, where his Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Knicks baseball squad played the New York Knicks.
Quicken's mortgages last year totaled $25 billion, up from $12 billion in 2008 and an earlier high of $19 billion in 2007. Quicken's current headcount is 3,013 employees, up from 2,700 at the end of 2008, but still below the high of 3,600 when the business first announced its intention to move to Detroit with 4,000 employees.
However, the current trends are encouraging enough that Quicken is now looking for more room than it already arranged to rent from Compuware for the first step of 1,700 employees. "Gilbert said, "We could probably bring at least 500 to 700 more into the city center if room can be found in neighboring blocks.
Attempts by the German federal Government to stabilise the depressed residential property markets have had only modest results. Fed programmes designed to help fighting homeowners remain in their houses have collapsed, Gilbert said, because they work through mortgages service providers who are poorly endowed to handle home use. "It' s like a car callback, similar to Toyota," Gilbert said, "where the administration would tell the customer to jump the dealer and take his car straight to the factory for repair."
Quicken seems to be ready to evolve. When the accommodation gets better, all vessels are raised. Should the markets remain in a state of upheaval, more mortgages and bank failures will occur, and Quicken will gain more shares.