Bloomfield Hills, MI

The sixth richest person in Michigan

Luay Rahil
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This billionaire was one of the most influential mortgage professionals under 40.

He is a visionary who blends sharp business acumen with a remarkable ability to create a healthy organizational culture that has been praised by many of his employees and competitors. His name is Mat Ishbia, and he lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His net worth exceeds $4.5 billion, making him the third richest person in Michigan.

Who is Mat Ishbia?

Mat Ishbia is the President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, one of the best mortgage companies in the country. He was born in suburban Detroit, Michigan, on January 6th, 1980. His father is an attorney, and his mother was a schoolteacher in Pontiac. When Mat was young, his father started a mortgage company as a side business, and Mat was tasked with scaling it a few years later.

Ishbia got recruited to play basketball at many small schools but turned them down. So instead, he attended Michigan State University, where he earned a scholarship but never became a starter. Then, in 2000, the Spartans won a national championship while he was in his second season. The experience left a powerful impact on his development and career on and off the court.

He joined his father's company in 2003.

He graduated college in 2003 and debated becoming a basketball coach. Instead, he joined United Wholesale Mortgage, a company started by his father, Jeff Ishbia. Mat was the 12th employee of the company, but he was determined to use what he learned in basketball to grow United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM).

He says, "I left Michigan State basketball and said, 'Can I take some of the basketball things, some business things we learned playing basketball and apply it to the real-world business, and see what we can do?' That has helped us take it to this level, that mentality of caring about every detail, the client experience, and being in the weeds of the business."

In 2013, he became the company's CEO. Under Mat's leadership, United Wholesale Mortgage became one of the most innovative lenders in the industry. By 2018, the company had moved into a 610,000-square-foot building in Pontiac, Michigan. A second building was purchased across the street within a year, adding another 900,000 square feet.

At the end of 2019, UWM hit a record of wholesale volume in one year with over $107.7 billion in mortgage originations. Part of his success is his ability to create a healthy environment for his team to provide an excellent customer experience. In one of his interviews with Rob Dube, Mat said, "He believed in creating an environment to give his employees and customers what they wanted."

On recruiting exceptional employees, he said if you provide employees with opportunities to grow, great people will join your mission. This mindset drove him to take his company public in 2020 and reported revenue of $4.8 billion in the same year. Today, the company has 9,000 employees working together on one campus in Pontiac, Michigan.

He doesn't allow remote working.

Mat doesn't believe that the company can be the best mortgage company in the country, allowing people to work remotely. So, instead of allowing people to work from home, he provides opportunities to show employees he values their time.

  1. Firm 40: He wants everyone to work up to 40 hours or on weekends. He tells his team to be productive for 40 hours and go home and be with their family.
  2. One-stop-shop: To save his employees' time commuting, he built a convenience store, Starbucks, and a dry cleaner on campus.
  3. Doctor's office: He also has a family doctor's office to help employees save time and money.
  4. Basketball court and a gym: Ishbia built a state-of-the-art gym and a basketball court.

Ishbia believes chemistry and culture can't be built through a phone or a computer screen. He wants everyone in the office to be the greatest team in the world. Every division starts its day with a daily huddle, and every team member has a monthly meeting with their direct supervisor to discuss their goals. According to Ishbia, these things can't be done remotely.

Ishbia believes many companies fail because they focus on making money instead of adding more value. So Ishbia keeps telling his team to make things fast and easy, make better decisions, measure progress, and be willing to change. But he also advises anyone who wants to work for his company, "If you don't like change, you won't fit here."

In 2021, Ishbia donated $32 million to Michigan State University to support the athletic department, considered the largest single cash commitment in MSU history. His amazing success made his biggest dream possible: buying a professional basketball team. Early this year, Ishbia purchased a majority stake in the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury from the embattled owner Robert Sarver for $4 billion.

If you had Mat's money, what causes would you support?

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