SAN DIEGO–Awareness that they make mortgage loans has long been an issue for credit unions. Not so for the $5.7-billion San Diego County CU.

In  September, readers of the San Diego Union-Tribune rated SDCCU the No. 1 Home Loan Provider for the third year in a row. CEO Teresa Halleck said it is having a “banner year” in mortgage loan production, while still maintaining “great quality service” to its borrowers.

“We continue to receive tremendous mortgage loan volume from quality borrowers in the markets we serve,” she said. “We have consistently employed prudent lending practices, allowing us to maintain a consistent array of mortgage product offerings in our markets.”

Unlike the past, when Halleck noted some of the major lenders freely offered “creative” mortgage loans that contributed to the financial crisis, borrowers without equity in their property will have a “very difficult time” finding a low- or no-equity mortgage loan provider.

“Fortunately, we did not offer negative amortization mortgage loans or pick-a-pay mortgage loans during the boom years, so borrowers in our local markets generally do not look to the credit union for that type of product,” she declared. “As a result, our market niche for strong borrowers interested in high-quality mortgage loan products has remained strong and steady.”

Refinance loans currently comprise more than 80% of SDCCU’s mortgage loan volume, reflecting both rates and a strong local housing market that has mostly stabilized.


'Fiercely Competitive’

While SDCCU may be recognized as a mortgage lender, so are plenty of other providers in this “fiercely competitive” market, including all the well-known bank brands. Halleck said all those big banks adjust their market pricing based on their appetite for additional mortgage volume.

“We anticipate the upcoming new mortgage disclosure requirements will further highlight how competitive and beneficial our mortgage offerings are for consumers and result in stronger consumer interest on a prospective basis,” she said.

While volume fluctuations typically impact appraisal turnaround in the market, Halleck said the credit union continues to receive good service from its providers.

SDCCU retains mortgage loan servicing to preserve member relationships, “However, we do sell quite a bit of our new fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage loan production to Fannie Mae, servicing retained, as part of our asset/liability and interest rate risk mitigation strategy,” said Halleck.

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