The Florida dealer is suing UWM over a ban on working with Rocket, Fairway

A Florida mortgage broker is suing United Wholesale Mortgage, alleging the wholesaler's policies regarding business with Rocket Cos. And Fairway Independent Mortgage is anti-competitive and a trade restriction.

The lawsuit, in class action status, has been filed in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Okavage Group is the named plaintiff, but other companies are reportedly involved as well.

"UWM is committed to the growth and success of over 10,000 independent mortgage brokers across America who have chosen the broker channel as 'All In'," a company spokesman said in a statement. "We are not focusing on the 600 or so people who have refused to move forward as partners. We are not commenting on currently pending legal issues, especially those that have neither merit nor content."

Okavage's lawsuit alleges violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, Florida Antitrust Act, tampering with business relationships, and Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

This case is "the first strike," with more to come, including from mortgage brokers in California, said Okavage's attorney Robert Goodman of Parrish & Goodman in Fort Myers, Florida.

These mortgage brokers are upset that UWM "is limiting the ability to provide their customers with certain loans that may be more suitable for their customers," Goodman said in an interview.

"There are times when Rocket offers a better rate than UWM and that customer, the end user, the borrower and the consumer are the one who is really hurt. The broker gets hurt too," he added.

It distracts from the mortgage broker finding the best fit for the consumer and doing more business with them later, Goodman continued.

"Not only do they expect to do and do this, they also expect to develop a relationship with the customer," he said. "You can lose this customer, this customer, for life just because they can't get a loan."

Impairment of freedom of choice is why mortgage broker Okavage Group joined the lawsuit.

"I fight UWM because my freedom and independence, the reason my clients work with me, has been taken away," said Dan O & # 39; Kavage, president of the St. Augustine, Florida company. "If I didn't want to be independent, I would work in the retail industry and work for one of the big lenders in the store."

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