Imagine having access to more than 1.1 million real estate professionals, across every state and region, who know the local market like the back of their hand and are seeking symbiotic relationships that would put new borrowers in the palm of yours. Sound too good to be true? It's isn't.
There are currently more than 1,400 state and local real estate associations linked to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “These are the grassroots of the realty community,” says Jane Pannier, CEO of Realtors Federal Credit Union ($83.2M, Rockville, MD). “It can be very advantageous to work with these associations.”
These real estate professionals have the referrals needed to reinvigorate a slumping real estate portfolio and are searching for new funding options for their clients. Increasingly, they are turning to credit unions.
“NAR sends of all of its members emails touting the benefits of credit union membership,” says Jesse Boyer, Realtor’s COO. Over the years, there’s been a trickle down of awareness and they are passing their newfound appreciation of credit unions onto their homebuyers.
So how can you convince talented realtors in your own community to put their experience and marketplace knowledge to work for you? A give-and-take relationship is required, so consider the following strategies:
Hold educational seminars for members (online or in-person) and invite realtors to speak. This generates new business for the real estate agent, provides a free resource for first time homebuyers, and introduces a cooperative relationship that brings new originations to your doorstep.
If you’re not organizing an event, offer the use of your facility. Got extra space in the lobby on a Wednesday morning? Let a local realtor set up a meet and greet and answer any questions members may have.
Share information-based resources the credit union already possesses (such as current rates and mortgage activity levels) with local associations to help keep them in the know.
Be flexible, but hold realtors accountable. There are too many good realtors struggling for resources to maintain an ineffective partnership that does nothing for the credit union.