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Better Mortgages rolls out 'Equity Unlocker' for Amazon employees

Source: Better

This purchase season, Amazon employees have a new reason to celebrate.

Today, Better Mortgage announces the launch of the Equity Unlocker program, an innovative new financial product designed for those with vested equity like Amazon employees. Amazon employees will be the first to benefit from Equity Unlocker, which gives them the ability to finance their homes without selling their shares, achieving financial independence sooner. Better Equity Unlocker is available immediately in Florida, New York and Washington state for current and former Amazon employees with vested equity in Amazon.

There are 54 million millennials in the US workforce and over 70% say they cannot afford to purchase a home. Wishful homebuyers aren’t able to save for a down payment due to student loans, inflation, and the home affordability crisis. What’s worse, even if they save enough for expenses, other costs can quickly add up, including closing costs, furnishings, and an emergency fund for repairs. The combination of these factors are making it increasingly difficult to unlock access to homeownership in the US.

Better Mortgage created Equity Unlocker after noticing that many Amazon employees had already trusted Better, who has funded over $1B for their home financing needs, and that equity compensation was a particular concern for these customers. A recent Schwab survey found that 43% of millennials have exercised or sold equity compensation, which makes up nearly one-third of employee net worth. With Better’s new Equity Unlocker program, Amazon employees can afford a home by pledging, not selling, their equity in Amazon. This allows them to realize the American dream of homeownership while also participating in the growth of their company.

“At Better, our mission is to make homeownership cheaper, faster, and easier for all Americans,” said Better CEO & founder Vishal Garg. “The status quo is broken. The entire process around homeownership is opaque and stressful. For young professionals burdened with student debt and lack of savings, we know how hard it is to buy a home. This problem is exacerbated when many of the best and fastest growing companies increasingly reward their employees with equity rather than cash. Even though equity is a valuable asset, it is considered ineligible by most banks and financial institutions when calculating the necessary down payment on a home. Today, we are very excited to announce that we have created Equity Unlocker to help Amazon employees unlock their equity, their homes, and their futures.”

Previously, Amazon employees would have had to sell their equity to afford a home or take out a potentially costly, daily mark-to-market margin loan against their Amazon stock. Unlike traditional methods, Better Mortgage’s Equity Unlocker product is non-mark-to-market and non-recourse, meaning that the terms of the loan won’t change with the stock market. With Equity Unlocker, Amazon shares will be valued at the time of the home appraisal and then the rate and term can be locked, all within Better’s seamless digital platform. Equity Unlocker offers competitive pricing compared to the average rate for a margin loan and comes with all the other benefits of a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. The Equity Unlocker program is also available for the purchase of second homes or investment properties.

The pre-approval process with Better Mortgage takes just a few minutes. Amazon employees can go to better.com/b/equity-unlocker-amazon to start the process and within minutes receive personalized rates and be connected with their concierge Better Mortgage Loan Consultant. The platform allows employees to toggle between pledged equity and cash down payment so Amazon employees can easily understand how much home they can afford and how much equity they will need to pledge.

Better has been an Amazon Web Services (AWS) customer since the company was founded in 2015. Better’s pioneering loan origination system, Tinman, is powered entirely by AWS, leveraging numerous products to support cloud computing, processing capacity and software needs.

“Better collaborated with AWS and Amazon leaders to find new ways to engage customers in the home-buying journey,” said Chandan Sharma, Managing Director, Worldwide Business Development, Enterprise and Industry Verticals at Amazon Web Services. “Equity Unlocker was built on AWS to help Better Mortgage reach more customers, and extend their buying power. By building Equity Unlocker on AWS, Better Mortgage is able to innovate continuously, and improve the user experience while continuing to provide best in class service to their customers.”

Better Mortgage plans to bring the Equity Unlocker program to Amazon employees in the following additional states in Q2 of 2023: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Better Mortgage ultimately plans to make Equity Unlocker available nationwide to employees of other public and private companies, offering millions of hard working Americans the flexibility to leverage their vested shares for all of their home ownership needs.

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