Up until a short time ago, Mat Ishbia was best known to those who read Forbes and perhaps some Michigan University basketball fans. Ishbia has been all over the news as the new owner (along with his brother Justin) of the Phoenix Suns basketball team.
The $2.4 billion dollars the Ishbia brothers have laid down for the team gives them 60% ownership. It also makes Mat the youngest person to take ownership of an NBA team. He's also the only owner to have 3 NCAA championship rings (Michael Jordan has 1). Before all this NBA hubbub,
Mr. Ishbia is not just your average banker with a net worth of $4.9 billion. In 2022, he landed at number 234 on the famous Forbes 400 list. That's the list that ranks the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. Outranking the likes of Donald Trump, and the Kellogg and Wrigley families.
So how did Mat Ishbia amass a net worth so huge that he bought himself a pro basketball team? Lets find out more about this ball dribbling mortgage broker.
Mat Ishbia Net Worth
Mat Ishbia was born on January 6, 1980, in Michigan. Raised in Birmingham, a suburb of Detroit, he lived with his mother, a teacher, his father, a mortgage broker, and his brother. He played basketball throughout his youth.
When he was accepted to Michigan State University, he was a walk-on point guard for the basketball team. Though he spent most of his college ball career on the bench, he did garner 3 Big Ten Championships with his team. He spent a season as a student coach for his alma mater, and was offered an assistant coaching position.
However, he turned it down to join his father's company, United Wholesale Mortgage, that he founded in 1989. The company, which provided underwriting and mortgage closing documents, had only 11 employees when Mat started in the operations division. He learned the ins and outs of the business and took over for his father, becoming CEO in 2013. In only 9 years, Mat grew the company to 7,000 employees.
It's base of operations is located in a huge office building in Pontiac, Michigan. UWM serves small banks and credit unions in all 50 states. In 2019, Ishbia's mortgage company broke industry records with a staggering $107.7 billion in loans. In 2021, the company made almost $200 billion in home mortgage loans.
Also Wrote a Book
Earlier in 2022, Ishbia and his brother were in the final group of bidders to buy the Denver Broncos football team. They lost out to the Walton family, America's richest family and owners of the Walmart chain. But it seems the successful purchase of the Phoenix Suns was the better deal for him anyway. Included with the Suns is their WNBA sister team, the Phoenix Mercury.
In 2019, Mat added to his net worth by penning a book entitled, Running The Corporate Offense: Lessons In Effective Leadership From The Bench To The Board Room. Within its pages, he shared what he learned from his championship team and his coach (Izzo).
He tells readers how those lessons have helped him become an effective boss and a successful businessman. The book was quite popular due to it being an easy financial read while still providing sound financial advice.
Mat Ishbia does not make all his money on his own. He gets a lot of help from the thousands of people he employs and he recognizes it. When he decided to expand operations, he purchased a 60 acre site with a 600,000 square foot building. He uses the space to give his workers the opportunity to play and relax as hard as they work. The complex includes:
- a doctor's office
- Starbuck's indoor/outdoor cafe
- fitness center
- massage room with full time masseuse
- indoor outdoor putting greens
- bike sharing program with bike and jogging paths
- volleyball courts
- full service food court with healthy breakfast and lunch options
- game room
- convienance store
- dance floor with a DJ for daily 3 o'clock dance parties
- basketball court
The company also holds several events on its home-like campus throughout the year to show employees and their families appreciation. Ishbia goes all out on Bring Your Child To Work Day, where staff are encouraged to bring their children in for a day of awesome activities, prizes, and goodies.
There is an annual spring fair that is hosted on the campus with entertainment, food, and a variety of games and amusements. Each Halloween staff takes part in Boonited, where the campus is spookily decorated and everyone is dressed up to host visits from local children and employee's children alike.
Ishbia also has regular rallies, awards ceremonies, and holiday parties where employees are awarded plaques and gifts from celebrities like Tom Brady. Ishbia is successful because he expects top productivity from his workers, but he also expects them to be rewarded for their hard work.
He feels by providing an excellent working environment, employees will put forth maximum effort. Most of Mat's Twitter feed is an ode to employees who have gone above and beyond for UWM.
Charity And Giving Back
His employees are not the only ones Mat tries to help live their best lives. He is known for working with and contributing to many different organizations. Mat uses his corporation's sports complex to host many events that raise money for children in the greater Detroit area. He also opens up the complex to children on a regular basis so they can have the opportunity to play in a world-class facility.
Over the years, he has personally donated several million dollars to the Dick Vitale Cancer Foundation. In 2021, he donated $32 million to Michigan State University. This was the largest gift ever bequeathed to the university by a private individual. Much of the money was used by the athletics department where renovations were done to the football arena.
Ishbia also offers paid time off to employees so that they can pursue volunteer opportunities for the charity or cause of their choice.
Mat Ishbia is married and shares 3 children with his wife Emily. She is a former model and photographer who loves making their $24 million dollar estate in Bloomfield, Michigan a comfortable home.
Emily has been highlighted in design magazines for making their huge mansion a balance of elegance and comfort, while being 100 percent child-friendly. A place where there can be sticky, messy play dates in the afternoon and chic dinner parties in the evening. Mat, of course, has a basketball court and room for their many cars.
The family enjoys traveling when dad is not working and they use their yacht and private jet to help them get around.
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Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee