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Quicken Loans lobbyist says helping Michigan unemployment agency ‘doesn’t make sense’

By on March 23, 2021 0

Despite an initial “offer” to help the state’s beleaguered unemployment insurance agency, Quicken Loans Inc. and its affiliates were ultimately not the right partners to meet the agency’s technology needs.

That’s according to a letter dated Monday from the Rock Family of Company’s top lobbyist, Jared Fleisher, to state Rep. Matt Hall, a Marshall-area Republican who chairs the joint committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. . News of the Detroit-based mortgage lender’s offer to help the state’s unemployment agency was the first reported earlier this month by The Detroit News.

Fleisher, in his letter to the committee, noted that the company has taken many initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, including development much of the operational support for a drive-thru test site in Detroit and work to secure essential personal protective equipment when it was scarce at the start of the pandemic.

But in the case of working with the UIA, it just didn’t make sense, according to Fleisher.

“When you’re in the position of wanting to help when and where you can, and when you’re moving fast in the middle of a pandemic, some of the offers won’t actually make sense in practice and once you have more information,” Fleisher said. wrote. “That’s what happened with our offer of assistance to the state on the UIA network overload issue. It’s as simple as that.”

In a phone interview with Crain’s on Tuesday, Fleisher echoed those same sentiments, saying issues like overloaded servers were best left to other providers, which the state had already put in place.

“This was not a well-crafted proposal with a clear work plan or solution in place,” Fleisher wrote. “It all started with a team member who raised the possibility of helping and was passed on to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) because our culture is to raise your hand to help, even if it doesn’t. not suitable for all circumstances.”

A spokesperson for LEO, of which the UIA is a part, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hall, in a phone call with Crain’s, called it “awesome” that Quicken Loans offered to help the state with its well documented technological issues within the UIA. However, Hall said he had yet to see Fleisher’s letter until he was told by a Crain reporter on Tuesday.

The lawmaker said he still had questions about the state aid offer.

“Maybe we’ll bring in Quicken and ask them more about it,” Hall said, referring to the committee he chairs.

“It’s great that they’re offering to help the state,” he said. “Obviously the state needs it.”