Rocket Mortgage launches program for underserved borrowers


Rocket Mortgage is providing up to $7,500 in credits for first time homebuyers to use toward their mortgage costs as it looks to court customers in underserved communities in select major cities.

The special purpose credit program, dubbed “Purchase Plus,” launched in the last week of December. The goal is increase homeownership accessibility in targeted census tracts in six major cities — Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia, Rocket said in a release. 

Eligible homebuyers in one of the six cities are provided a base credit of $5,000 plus an additional lender credit totaling 1% of the home’s purchase price — up to $2,500 — for a potential savings of $7,500.

“Our Purchase Plus program is a catalyst that will help narrow the homeownership gap by addressing a concern we’ve heard time and again – the difficulty of saving for out-of-pocket expenses when buying a home,” Bob Walters, CEO of Rocket Mortgage, said in a statement. 

The special purpose credit program eliminates exclusions based on area median income that broadens the scope of who can take advantage of the program, according to Rocket. 

Rocket Mortgage’s programs to expand access to homeownership efforts include the rollout of Rocket Community Fund’s Rocket Wealth Accelerator Program, which provides residents of Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Atlanta with coaches who will work with them to improve their ability to meet emergency needs and build their credit. 

Launched in December, the program offers matching dollars for participants’ savings plans with up to $500 for people planning to buy a home or a vehicle and up to $300 for those with short-term or emergency savings goals.

Rocket Mortgage, which was the largest mortgage originator in the country for the better part of a decade, lost its origination crown to its rival United Wholesale Mortgage in the third quarter, mainly due to refis plummeting as mortgage rates began to soar. 

Rocket has been focusing on garnering more users for its platform in the hopes to get them to lock in mortgages when buying homes.

It has rolled out temporary rate buydowns like an “Inflation Buster” program, in which Rocket Mortgage covers the difference in mortgage payments in the first 12 months through a special escrow account.

It has also launched Rocket Rewards, a loyalty program that distributes points toward financial transactions across the Rocket platform for potential homebuyers.

In turn, homebuyers can use points to get discounts in their closing costs in the future. Upon registration, customers receive a 7,500-point welcome bonus on their first reward activity – or $75 in savings on closing costs.

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