United Wholesale Mortgage has said it intends to let homeowners pay off their mortgages in bitcoin later this year.
The company, which went public last January via a special purpose acqusition merger, said this week it intends to accept “cryptocurrency” as payment for home loans. Detroit Free Press, which first reported the story, said UWM will become the first mortgage firm in the U.S. to do so.
“We’ve evaluated the feasibility, and we’re looking forward to being the first mortgage company in America to accept cryptocurrency to satisfy mortgage payments,” UWM Chief Executive Mat Ishbia said in the company’s second quarter earnings call on Monday. “That’s something that we’ve been working on, and we’re excited that hopefully, in Q3, we can actually execute on that before anyone in the country because we are a leader in technology and innovation.”
The Michigan-based company later confirmed to CNBC that it’s planning to begin with bitcoin, and that it is also evaluating the use of other cryptocurrencies too, though it didn’t name any specific tokens.
“We’re evaluating the feasibility and requirements in order to accept cryptocurrency to satisfy mortgage payments,” Ishbia tweeted, using the company’s Twitter account.
The announcement is a big deal as UWM is the U.S.’s second-biggest mortgage lender after Quicken Loans, CNBC reported. The company works solely through wholesale channels, which means that it employs numerous brokers who help to connect clients to home loans.
UWM’s push into cryptocurrency comes at a time when acceptance of decentralized digital money is soaring. Earlier this year for example, the electric car maker Tesla also announced it would accept bitcoin as payment for its vehicles.
However, cryptocurrencies have also come under heightened scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. For instance, President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill includes new rules around crypto tax, and financial authorities such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chief Jerome Powell have all spoken on the need to improve regulation of digital currencies.
UWM didn’t state whether it intends to hold bitcoin, like Tesla has done, or if it will immediately convert it to fiat at the point of transaction, as many enterprises do.