way to evaluate business options is to issue a request for proposal
and then examine the different options either with a consultant
or alone. The exercise of due diligence becomes more crucial if
a credit union seeks a true partner.
Getting behind the data of the proposal and looking at the business
partner first hand is required. Who runs the organization? What
is their background? How did they "learn the business?"
What is the firm's financial picture? Who are their key partners?
How is their technology managed? What is their strategic planning
process and direction?
to learn about the organization is crucial. A team of credit union
managers should be involved because the impact of any true partnership
will be felt across the organization. Evaluating the fit and culture
of a prospective partner is a judgement that cannot be reduced to
spread sheets and product descriptions.
should be used when choosing any kind of partner, including a real
estate partner. As a credit union, you may ask yourself, why do
I need a real estate partner? What should I look for in a real estate
partner? What kinds of questions should ask prospective partners?
What are the benefits for my credit union and members?
One reason why
credit unions should choose real estate partners is because of money-the
rebate their members receive from the partner. This is a big attraction
when people are looking to buy or sell homes and can make the difference
between your mortgage department getting the mortgage or having
the client go elsewhere. A real estate partnership can embrace the
goals of your credit union mortgage department by supporting the
member and encouraging the pre-qualification that their credit union
mortgage counselors are ready and willing to do. The right real
estate partnership is a benefit to the members and supports the
production goals of the mortgage department.
should ask potential real estate partners:
- Was the
program specifically designed for credit unions? Do you understand
the credit union philosophy?·
you put your program in writing, commit to a certain number
of years, and can you cancel if you are not happy with the
results or the performance?
- Do you
have the history of any credit union clients who have been in
the program over five years? Can you receive a performance history?
you provide the names of CEOs or mortgage managers who recommend
you or give me a list of credit unions who use the program
so you can check up?
you have a good track record of providing free materials
and support to the marketing department? Do you provide
brochures, statement stuffers, posters, help with seminars
you do what you promise?
you responsive and easy to communicate with?
- Do you
understand the credit union industry enough to do more work
inside the credit union?
you sponsor or co-sponsor events to reach the goals of credit
union membership? For example, do you sponsor fairs, seminars,
round tables or SEG group meetings?
you work inside to the credit union to train all of its
employees, from the CEO to the tellers?
- Do you
train your agents?
you train your agents to meet the demands of the credit
union mortgage consultants?
you provide a formal training program to teach real estate
counselors the credit union industry and to teach the credit
union mortgage department the real estate industry?
you provide in-house training to increase the capture ratio
there someone who is always available? Are there people
who will solve problems and respond in a timely manner with
calls and visits?
- Do you
have a reporting system?
you send a daily "who called," report, which tells
the credit union who called, what they were interested in,
you provide quarterly reports to both marketing and mortgage?
you give me a report card on member satisfaction? This report
should rate everyone involved in the program and should
tell you (if you did not get the mortgage) why you did not
get the mortgage and who did.
you have an efficient accounting system so that money is
given to members in a timely fashion?
- Are you
national in scope and capability? How do you treat international
are two-way. Both parties should work toward creating a relationship
that will help them reach their goals. Be prepared for the partner
to ask questions of the credit union and set parameters on the relationship
also. The partner should be clear about the directions he or she
hopes the two organizations can go together.
The way in which
these relationships are developed and the commitments expected must
be explicit. Credit unions often sign up for a service with high
involvement, but after the newness wears off, settle into a "users"
role not devoting the energy and time agreed to up front. To avoid
these kind of difficulties, be sure to ask the right questions so
your partner will know exactly what is expected of them and you'll
know exactly what is expected of you.
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