Secrets to Mortgage Lending Success

What does it take to be a successful mortgage lender? Pose this question to ten lenders and you are bound to get ten, or twelve, different answers. Some will say service is king. Others will agree, but add that price is important. Another theory will argue it's all about product. Then there is the thought that it takes size and scale to thrive in this terribly competitive business.

 

By Mortgage Cadence

 

What does it take to be a successful mortgage lender? Pose this question to ten lenders and you are bound to get ten, or twelve, different answers. Some will say service is king. Others will agree, but add that price is important. Another theory will argue it's all about product. Then there is the thought that it takes size and scale to thrive in this terribly competitive business.

My mortgage team and I were treated to an evening out by our title company, their way of saying thanks for making their business easier during last summer's tsunami of a refinance wave, said Tonya Coon, Vice President of Real Estate of MidWest Financial Credit Union in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During the evening, one of our members toasted the credit union, thanking us for how easily we handled his mortgage, and for saving his family and him a tremendous amount of money. This particular member appreciated the way we handled his mortgage so much, that he returned for his auto loan a few months later, added Coon. Member testimonials this powerful demonstrate that service is the key ingredient to being a successful credit union mortgage lender.

We approved loans, mortgage loans, in as little as five minutes during the crest of the refinance wave, said Daniel Milbrandt, Senior Vice President of Blackhawk Credit Union in Janesville, Wisconsin. The other lenders in town were taking much longer, in fact, upwards of several weeks to a month. Word about the high level of service we provide, and how simple we've made home financing is spreading throughout our community. Accordingly, a good percentage of our members think of their credit union first when they need a mortgage loan continued Milbrandt.

When you ask Coon and Milbrandt what it takes to be successful, they'll tell you that size has nothing to do with it. MidWest Financial has lent over $81 million for first mortgage loans this year. Their credit union size: $145 million. Blackhawk's story is similar, $76 million in first mortgage loans through the first six months of this year. Their asset size: $248 million. These two credit unions are proving something we've thought for quite some time, claims Joe Brancucci, President and CEO of Prime Alliance Solutions, Inc. A passion for helping members realize their dreams of homeownership is what really matters. When we measure success by the number of members served, Blackhawk and MidWest Financial are two of our best, concluded Brancucci.

Milbrandt and Coon agree that passion drives each of them and their credit unions to provide members with the best possible mortgage lending experience. A favorite member comment heard amongst the staff at MidWest Financial is, That's all there is to it, I'm approved? Coon adds, At first it was hard for us to believe too. Yet the news is spreading among our members and through the Realtor community that MidWest Financial provides a level of service unequalled in our area, and our competition are the largest banks in Michigan.

So, who's really right? No one's really wrong, although these two Midwestern credit unions prove service is king, and that size may not matter.

 

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Nov. 17, 2003


Comments

 
 
 
  • Interesting article but HOW are they approving loans so quickly?
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Excellent article. We are members of Midwest Financial Credit Union and their service goes above and beyond what we could have ever expected from a credit union. They are so organized and well trained and it makes it a pleasure to do our business with them. It should really say something that I can make that kind of compliment about a credit union of all things! Their service is truly personal and we appreciate the respect they give us!! It is for this reason that we keep our real estate mortgages with them...they are currently holding several of them. We love them!!
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • More detail as to how they achieve fast turnarounds would be most appreciated
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Size is important for giving better price breaks to the member & providing the right products and servicies to meet their needs. If you're passionate about helping the member, you should seek to provide them with a variety of products. However, passion for excellent service is truly the key. Even when we were taking weeks to issue credit approval during the refi boom, the members who closed loans with us understood and, when surveyed, surprisingly said that the timeline met their expectations. We're only now offering instant approval & that may help us to better serve the "shoppers", but trust is also the key to keeping members and getting their return business. Any lender could underquote you, but they cannot always be trusted.
    Anonymous