Hit The RESTART Button On Mortgage Lending

Credit unions must focus on how to evolve this crucial business moving forward.


According to insights recently shared by Steve Brown, President-Elect of the National Association of Realtors and one of the principals at a large, independently-owned real estate brokerage, Realtors need a fresh take on how they can best move their industry forward.

“The worst of the housing crisis is behind us and in order to be successful going forward, Realtors need to hit the restart button and forget about how they did business in the past,” Brown says.

This same message applies to credit unions as well. For example, Callahan & Associates recently reported that credit unions originated in excess of $123 billion in loans throughout 2012 and captured a market share of 7.0% — both of which were an all-time high for the industry.

But according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, over 71% of all mortgage loans in 2012 were for refinances. By that logic, credit unions achieved almost $88 billion in refinances last year — which is great news for the monthly budgets of hard-working Americans — but only generated $35 million in purchases over the same time frame.



Source: Mortgage Bankers Association

One day in the not too distant future, the vast majority of borrowers capable of refinancing will have already done so and as a result, refinance volume will slow. When that day comes, will credit unions be able to thrive on an annual mortgage production of only $35 billion? Do we really want to find out?

There are a number of ways that credit unions can better anticipate and prepare for this shift in the real estate business. One strategy is to focus on creating relationships with the people who sell homes. Strategies to establish and grow these strategic Realtor partnerships include:

  1. Buying up real estate brokerages to capture the purchase transaction from these shops.
  2. Forming joint ventures with real estate companies to offer mortgage lending services to their customers.
  3. Renting desk space in a real estate broker’s office.
  4. Hosting Realtor continuing education classes as a way to introduce the credit union to the broader real estate market.
  5. Becoming affiliate members of your local Board of Realtors.
  6. Reaching out to the Realtors in your membership to create advisory councils and “Realtor on Duty” days in your branches.
  7. Partnering with real estate rebate programs where in exchange for quality mortgage referrals, local Realtors give part of their commission back to the borrower in the form of a rebate.
  8. Positioning the credit union as a local leader in mortgage knowledge for Realtors, sharing information about how mortgage finance is evolving and how it may impact homebuyers in the region.

Individual credit unions may not be in the position to undertake all of these measures but it’s important to start building or strengthen relationships with these professionals any way you can.  When the refinance boom finally goes away, the industry must be prepared. Otherwise, we will all be looking for a restart button and wishing we would have already pushed it.

For more information, please visit mycooportunity.com or call (877) 630-3399. Also, be sure to visit our blog at mortgagesarememberlicious.com.

Tim Mislansky is president of myCUmortgage, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wright-Patt Credit Union. He also serves as senior vice president/chief lending officer for WPCU. He can be reached at tmislansky@myCUmortgage.com or 937-912-7853.



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