Abrupt. That’s probably the best and most concise definition of how mortgage
markets change. One-day members are refinancing home loans with abandon. The
next day rates move, refinancing stops, lending slows to a crawl. Savvy lenders
anticipate these about-faces with game plans that move them swiftly into purchase-money
lending. Terribly creative lenders go further afield, positioning their lending
programs in entirely new ways.
In what possible way, you might be wondering, could mortgage lending be changed
so that members take notice even when rates are rising? By not leading with
mortgage loans, that’s how. A group of credit unions is doing exactly
that, emphasizing the home-buying/selling event rather than their mortgage programs.
This game-changer, while unexpected by members, plays directly to what members
want: a home. Then it offers them what they need to buy their home: a mortgage.
Furthermore, by helping members with their home buying/selling transactions,
these credit unions are increasing their purchase-money mortgage loans.
That’s the reason Prime Alliance Solutions, Inc., and Prudential Northwest
Realty, LLC, formed Prime Alliance Real Estate Services, LLC, last August. The
goal is a credit union-style real estate experience: get to know the member,
take time to learn their housing hopes and needs, match them with the Real Estate
Agent best-suited to their situation, monitor their housing transaction through
closing, and then see them happily move into their new home.
The psychology behind this innovative program is simple; offer members personal
assistance from an organization they trust concerning a transaction few understand.
A majority of Credit Union Members will engage in a real estate transaction
only a couple times in their lives. By having a couple real estate transactions
spaced out over the course of a lifetime, the process remains foreign. Meaning
that, between purchases or sales, the specific processes and intricacies are
forgotten, not to mention that the documents and requirements have undoubtedly
changed. Yet, as foreign as this process becomes, real estate transactions still
represent a major financial and emotional experience.
Enlisting the help of a ‘qualified’ Real Estate Agent makes this
enormous process much simpler. However, finding a ‘qualified’ Real
Estate Agent could present another hurdle your members will encounter. A real
estate transaction combines the efforts of numerous individuals from potentially
numerous different organizations; all trying to get to collectively make your
The Real Estate Services Program compliments credit union mortgage lending
so perfectly. Members buying a home need a mortgage. Most members that are selling
homes become buyers who need a mortgage. Many credit unions have refined their
mortgage lending experience, removing the guesswork and stress from the financial
transaction members dread most. In addition to providing members with a high-degree
of comfort, it’s helped these credit unions build a solid reputation within
the Real Estate community as lenders that exceed expectations.
As the Real Estate Services Program surges into its second year with a full
head of steam, trends are developing. “Best home purchase I’ve ever
been through, ” and, “this was a stress free experience that didn’t
cost me anything, plus I received a rebate after closing,” are just a
few comments from our satisfied members. Remarkably, members are beginning to
think about their credit union as an organization that can help them with their
home buying and/or selling transactions. As the mortgage game continues to shift,
members are beginning to enter the Real Estate Services Program directly rather
than entering the program through the mortgage department. This resounding member
appreciation that floods in our door daily serves as a constant reminder of
just how quickly this year old Program is emerging as a cornerstone in our purchase
mortgage lending operation.