It’s been two-and-a-half years since BECU implemented its HomeReady Mortgage program and started giving more members access to more homes in Washington state.
Affordable lending is not just for big banks — community banks and credit unions are finding that their members are looking for alternate paths to homeownership, too. First-time homebuyers and retirees, members of the gig economy, young families, and many borrowers in between are looking toward affordable options — due to low inventory, rising housing prices, perceived down payment hurdles, and more.
This is one credit union’s story of how affordable lending is opening more doors and serving more members than ever.
Affordable Lending Makes Perfect Sense For Credit Unions
Affordable lending programs provide low- to moderate-income borrowers with access to mortgages and programs to help them succeed as homeowners. Credit unions with members who span the age, wealth, and credit range are providing affordable lending options to make sure all their members who dream of homeownership have a way to reach it.
“Our goal is to help our members and communities reach their dream of homeownership and offer support to remove barriers in the process,” says Lorraine Stewart, vice president of mortgage lending for BECU. “As a not-for-profit credit union, giving back to our members and communities is built into the DNA of our organization.”
HomeReady Mortgage, the affordable product offered by BECU, offers borrowers pricing equal to (or better than) standard loan pricing with cancellable mortgage insurance (restrictions apply). Plus, cash for down payment and closing costs can come from multiple sources, including gifts, grants, and Community Seconds — with no minimum personal funds required.
Having a product that is designed for creditworthy low- to moderate-income borrowers expands what BECU — and all credit unions — can do for members.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Stewart says. “It’s just one more way we serve our members.”
Preparing For Homeownership
Becoming a homeowner is about more than just finding the right mortgage. Like many credit unions, BECU offers programs and products that promote financial education. Through home-buying classes (both online and in-person), seminars, its Financial Health Check Program, and more, BECU’s leadership has maintained a focus on financial literacy and its members’ financial health.
HomeReady supports BECU’s emphasis on financial well-being by requiring at least one borrower on each purchase transaction completes an online education program through Framework.
“It’s very important to create not only homeownership but also sustainable homeownership,” says Isa Backley, BECU’s senior manager of product strategy for mortgage lending. “Our people work with members to get them ready and help them through the path to homeownership. We take a look at the member’s homeownership goal holistically.”
Why HomeReady Works For BECU
Backley and Stewart believe that offering HomeReady to creditworthy low- to moderate-income borrowers increases the number of BECU members who can achieve homeownership.
“We originate a high percent of low- to moderate-income qualified loans, and we’re very proud that we can provide financing (through HomeReady),” Backley says. “I think HomeReady is a leading affordable product not just for BECU but nationwide.”
Find out more about HomeReady and if it is the right product for your organization.