LAS VEGAS-At the American Credit Union Mortgage Association annual convention last week, Credit Union Journal asked the following attendees: "Now that interest rates are going up and the refi boom is drying up, what proactive steps is your CU taking to generate more purchase mortgages?"
Here's what they said.
Gary Lanier, VP retail lending, TDECU, Lake Jackson, Texas
No. 1 is expanding our mortgage loan officer base in the Houston market. Life is good in Texas right now, so even though the refi market is less the purchase market is strong. There is an oil and gas boom that is bringing in lots of economic activity and people looking for a place to live. When we combine that with adding loan officers that are not just order takers but go out and get the business.
Jon Paukovich, VP mortgage lending, Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo.
We have always stayed focused on the purchase market. Even during the refi boom we told our staff about the importance of understanding the purchase business is at our core. In the last three months we have had record money for purchases. In August, purchase money was 57% of our first mortgages.
Looking forward, we are planning for our purchase percentage to go even higher. We have external sales officers who call on Realtors, we advertise, and we are involved in real estate industry activities.
Elizabeth Million, AVP of mortgage lending, Elevations CU, Boulder, Colo.
To increase the market share we already have, we have to increase our visibility and awareness in the Realtor community. We have to let them know what a credit union is capable of. Once a Realtor experiences what we can do, I have never lost a Realtor. But then it is important to reach out to the other 15 or 20 Realtors in that office.
We are at 70% purchases because we have a really good team. We think education is really important. We teach continuing education classes for Realtors, which give them value and introduces them to the credit union.
Amanda Myers, mortgage sales manager, Idaho Central CU, Meridian
We have been proactive for a few years now. We have full-time mortgage loan officers who are focused on external business, whole our branch people focus on refis. Since 2008, the loan officers' primary goal has been getting and maintaining relationships with Realtors.
The most important issues for Realtors are communication and response time. We tell our people they cannot overcommunicate with a Realtor-they love to get updates. Our Realtors tell us our turnaround time is the best in the market-about 20 or 21 days on a purchase.
Miriam Mitchell, director of real estate, CFE FCU, Lake Mary, Fla.
At the beginning of the year-in anticipation of the end of the refi boom-we partnered with CU Realty. We rolled out a program in May that includes cash back from Realtor commissions. CU Realty does a lot of marketing on our behalf. We register everybody for the CU Realty site whether they are looking to buy today or not. Registration gives people access to the Realtor MLS site, so there is real value. When people are ready to buy they can call the credit union and we will pair them with a Realtor.