In the current market, it has become increasingly clear that credit unions have an opportunity to further develop their mortgage operations and enhance their lending capabilities. Demand to provide a full range of financing options is increasing within the credit union industry according to industry experts. Partnerships and collaborations can help to meet member financing needs.
Statistical data from Callahan & Associates indicates that credit union first mortgage originations rose 53 percent versus the first quarter 2007. This increase is due to several factors including the exit of mortgage brokers and lenders from the industry and the credit union industry's willingness to continue to serve its members. It is anticipated that the growth will continue well into 2009 according to industry experts. Given this environment, credit unions of all charters and asset size are experiencing a significant increase in inquiries and mortgage origination volume. This growth presents a new opportunity that some credit unions may not be prepared for internally.
Historically, credit unions have utilized partnerships and collaborations as a means to provide supplemental services to their members. Numerous credit unions also work with outside sources to provide a variety of services. By doing so, they are able to fulfill their operating requirements and, most importantly, meet their members' needs.
Despite the fact that the mortgage lending industry is quite vast, the credit crisis has taken a toll. Lenders have not demonstrated conservative underwriting guidelines and therefore, exited certain non-traditional lending segments. Additionally, many lenders have exited the Mortgage Industry entirely. New York based Emigrant Mortgage Company (Emigrant) , a private portfolio lender, still remains secure in its ability to offer products which are “unique”and considered non-traditional by the industry. These products have catered to the diverse needs of the borrowing public and are successful and profitable based on long established guidelines which have a proven track record. Despite the difficult mortgage environment, Emigrant experienced annual loan volume growth of 14% for the year-end December 2007. The approach is a prudent one and Emigrant 's growth clearly illustrates its success!
A Customized Lending Solution for Unique Borrowing Needs
Some of Emigrant's unique products have been customized for numerous industry segments. In the past, Emigrant has worked with educators, policeman, firemen and healthcare workers. The goal has been to define the borrowing needs of a specific industry segment, set out to help educate them and offer a full range of products to assist them with their financing requirements. Industry research and due diligence has helped Emigrant identify a potential fit within these groups.
The company's approach with teachers is an example of this success. Emigrant launched a Teacher Ad Campaign over 5 years ago after identifying the specific needs of this group. Emigrant's implementation of their customized Teacher Mortgage Program not only provided a variety of mortgage products to the Teaching industry, it also offered Educational Seminars and a dedicated 1-800 TEACH (toll free number to handle inquiries and provide direct access to a Senior Mortgage Consultant, specifically trained to deal with this group.
Teachers throughout Emigrant's lending territories* were “given a road map” on understanding choices when purchasing or refinancing a home, and the company provided additional insight to first time home-buyers and individuals who may have suffered unusual circumstances which merited specialized products. When “unusual circumstances” were presented, Emigrant was often able to provide assistance with the intention of helping the individual improve their situation and move into a more traditional product option over time. Driven by the success of the Teacher program, Emigrant researched other industry segments to determine if there were other groups that could benefit from Emigrant's specialized guidelines. Today, Police and Firemen have benefited from Emigrant's programs as have Healthcare professionals and a variety of other groups.
In the past several months, Emigrant has set out to understand the Credit union industry and its mortgage needs. Participation at CU industry events, discussion with industry executives and Lending Officers has been instrumental in the development of Emigrant's effort. Clearly, credit unions most keenly value their membership base and strive to continually service member needs. As with other industries, Emigrant has focused on understanding this financial service group and is now prepared to reach out to individual credit unions to help them enhance their lending capabilities.
The Opportunity for Your Credit Union
Realizing that each credit union is unique, Emigrant's objective is to customize a program that will specifically service each credit union's requirements. Further, also realizing that each member has individual needs, Emigrant will evaluate each scenario to provide the best suited product. The two products that Emigrant believes credit unions will have a need for and be most attracted to, are their HiQ Family and STARflex Programs. These Programs are priced based on risk factors. This methodology of lending has demonstrated success and provides protection for both Borrower and Lender alike.
Emigrant's HiQ Family Program provides for No-Income/No-Asset financing. This Program is the perfect fit for applicant(s) that cannot meet traditional conforming product guidelines. Emigrant's STARflex Program goes one step further, by assisting borrowers who may be experiencing temporary difficulties, have low credit scores or impaired credit profiles. This program is intended to assist the applicant over a period of time and monitor their ability to move into a lower rate mortgage product as they improve their credit score.
Emigrant's long history, prudent underwriting and creative nature has brought it to the forefront of the Mortgage Industry. For credit unions, it is imperative that they understand the sole objective of Emigrant's current industry effort is to provide mortgage products that will enhance their lending capabilities. Finally, Emigrant wants to emphasize that they have the ability to CUSTOMIZE a partnership so that the credit union's relationship with their MEMBER is protected.
To learn more about Emigrant Mortgage, call Gail Newman, Senior Mortgage Consultant at 212-850-4849 ; or e-mail NewmanG@Emigrant.com .
* which includes, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Florida Please visit us at EmigrantMortgage.com to confirm the counties that we currently lend in and to obtain additional product and program information. Emigrant Mortgage Company is a subsidiary of Emigrant Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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