Sam Gendusa October 6, 2021

Newsletter - October 2021

If you’re one of the 13% of Americans who invests in cryptocurrency and you’d like to use it to make your mortgage payments, you’re in luck.

United Wholesale Mortgage, the second-largest mortgage lender in the country behind Rocket Mortgage, are aiming to let borrowers pay their mortgage in Bitcoin by the end of the year. It will be the first mortgage company in the U.S. to do so.

“UVM is planning to accept Bitcoin because we have nearly 1 million consumers who pay us a monthly mortgage payment,” said UWM’s chairman and CEO, Mat Ishbia, “and we’re always trying to find a way to make things easier for our clients.”

The company has not released details about how the arrangement might work — for example, if borrowers would pay with Coinbase or other cryptocurrency brokerages — and not everyone is sold on the idea.

“I wouldn’t recommend basing the certainty of next month’s mortgage payment on the price of a stock you’re holding now,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, “and I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing so based on a speculative asset.”

Bitcoin has had some volatile price moves this year, hitting close to $65,000 in April and dipping below $30,000 within the following few months.

“They don’t know what they’re talking about, but it’s fine,” said Ishbia. “The reason we’re the leader and innovator is because we put ourselves out there first and we dig in.

“Most Millennials are into crypto,” he continued, “so therefore if the lender I work with has the ability and you want to pay your mortgage in crypto, that’s an option.”

If you’re neither a Millennial nor among the aforementioned 13%, you might be asking: What is Bitcoin, anyway?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency (or “crypto”): a digital currency that people can buy, sell, or exchange online without an intermediary such as a bank. Cryptocurrencies work using blockchain, a highly secure, decentralized technology that manages and records transactions.

Will some of UVM’s borrowers really start to pay their mortgages in Bitcoin? Will other lenders offer the option as well?

“I’m not going to say that this is what we’re going to do for the next 35 years,” said Ishbia, “but I’m going to test the waters.

“The great part of working in such a carefully regulated industry is that we are able to work directly with regulators to ensure we’re doing right by everyone before a change like accepting cryptocurrency comes to pass,” he said.

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