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Mortgage company Guaranteed Rate changing its name to Rate

Lizzie Kane, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

Chicago-based mortgage company Guaranteed Rate is changing its name to Rate, according to company communications reviewed by the Tribune.

Victor Ciardelli, the president, CEO and founder of Guaranteed Rate, told employees in a May 28 company call that the name change would take place within the next 60 to 90 days but could be earlier than that.

“This is something that has been in the works for the last four years, maybe even longer, truthfully,” Ciardelli said on the call. “I always wanted to change the name from Guaranteed Rate to Rate. I’ve actually wanted to change the name even longer than the last four years. … People have a really hard time spelling ‘guaranteed.’”

The company’s website domain is already rate.com and the name of its app, launched in the fall, is Rate.

Just over two weeks after the company call, the Tribune published an investigation that found many former employees reported experiencing or witnessing persistent verbal abuse and a misogynistic environment while working at Guaranteed Rate.

The company strenuously denied the allegations prior to publication and retained an outside law firm that repeatedly threatened to sue the newspaper for defamation. Since the story was published June 15, several business publications have followed up on the Tribune’s reporting, with Crain’s Chicago Business describing the situation as a “a public-relations crisis” for the company.

A spokesperson for Guaranteed Rate did not respond before Friday’s deadline to requests for comment on the name change.

 

Guaranteed Rate, whose corporate headquarters is in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood, was founded in 2000 and has grown to become one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country based on loan volume, according to industry news and data provider Inside Mortgage Finance. Like other mortgage companies, Guaranteed Rate has suffered a significant decline in business over the last two years, stemming from mortgage rates that have more than doubled from their record lows during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company grew to employ 9,708 people nationwide at its peak in 2021, Guaranteed Rate told the Tribune in May. Part of the company’s growth stemmed from its acquisitions of other mortgage companies: Manhattan Mortgage and Superior Mortgage in 2012 and Stearns Lending in 2021.

Guaranteed Rate also partners on mortgage services with some of the largest real estate companies in the country. Including the people working in those partnerships, Guaranteed Rate had 14,264 employees at its height in 2021.

As mortgage rates soared in 2022 and 2023, the firm made thousands of layoffs, with only 3,871 workers remaining as of April, or 5,756 among all its companies, excluding contractors, as of May, according to the company.

The White Sox baseball stadium has been known as Guaranteed Rate Field since 2016. In response to a Tribune request for comment on the company’s name change, a White Sox spokesperson said: “Our staff is in regular communication with our partners, and at this time, there is no impact to the White Sox organization during the 2024 season.”

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the entity that owns the stadium and its naming rights, did not respond Friday to requests for comment.


©2024 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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