At least two major lenders have withdrawn their support for the organization over its chairman's crude remarks about a competitor's wife
Fallout has been swift over revelations of lewd comments made by Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) Chairman Anthony Casa, with at least two major sponsors of the organization dropping their support.
On Monday is was revealed that Casa is being sued for defamation for making crude, sexually explicit remarks about Theresa Niemiec, the wife of Quicken Loans executive vice president Austin Niemiec.
Casa posted a video apology on Facebook on Monday, and AIME has posted a statement from its president, Marc Summers, on Facebook.
“As a professional trade association with resources dedicated to brokers from all backgrounds in the mortgage industry and a specific focus on providing resources to women in the wholesale channel, we know that these statements are inexcusable and can reassure all members and sponsors are not views that the AIME team supports,” Summers wrote. “AIME is committed to being accountable for actions made by our representatives inside and outside of our organization. Any loss of credibility is a loss to the channel and is taken seriously and without bias. We are focused on serving the 40,000 members of AIME, the growth of the channel and opening the dialogue to have candid conversations about how we can be better together.”
That statement may have been too little, too late, however. As of Tuesday, Flagstar Bank and Caliber Home Loans, both sponsors of AIME, had withdrawn their support. Other lenders, including Paramount Residential Mortgage Group (PRMG) and United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) have continued to stand by AIME but have issued statements condemning Casa’s remarks.
PRMG’s founder and CEO, Paul Rozo, was particularly blunt in his assessment of Casa’s comments.
“It’s just bullying. I don’t even have words for it,” he told MPA. “Those are games that grade-school kids play. ‘Your mama does this,’ you know?”
Rozo also took issue with Casa’s explanation for his comments – that he was egged on by Niemiec bragging about a record quarter.
“Is this a common practice? Hell no, it’s not,” Rozo said. “I’ve got many friends in the industry who run companies, and we applaud one another’s successes. It doesn’t become a point of contention. It doesn’t become a point of going to the lowest form that you could go about them because of their success.”
Many brokers, however, seem to be supporting Casa.
“Based on the totality of the relationship, I still view Anthony Casa as the man for the job, and trust his sincere apology and expect him to be even better equipped to move the growth of the wholesale mortgage broker forward with lessons learned,” one broker wrote on AIME’s Facebook page.
“As long as you have Anthony Casa, you will have me as a dedicated member,” wrote another.
Not everyone was so forgiving, however.
“One of the most important attributes of a leader is their judgment,” another broker wrote in response to AIME’s Facebook post. “The level or poor judgment here is beyond the pale.”
MPA reached out to AIME and Caliber Home Loans for comment, but had not received a response by press time.