While most real estate analysts were predicting a slowdown in new home sales and other California state chartered credit unions averaged a decrease in first mortgage loans, Wescom Credit Union ($3 billion, Pasadena, CA) experienced tremendous growth. According to Callahan & Associates’ First Look program, Wescom originated $220 million in first mortgage loans in the first half of 2005, a 37 percent increase from the same period last year.
Wescom also experienced significant growth in home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Wescom’s HELOC loans outstanding grew nearly 56 percent from last year to $247.6 million. Other California state credit unions experienced HELOC loan growth as well, with HELOC loans growing nearly 51 percent on average relative to the same period last year. All of this growth took place while the average home price in California increased 25.4 percent in the past year.
With this large increase in first mortgage originations and HELOCs, Wescom’s total real estate loans outstanding increased 23.9 percent to $1.2 billion at June 30. Over the past 12 months, Wescom increased its total loans outstanding by 24.1 percent and shares by 5.1 percent. Membership grew by 9.1 percent to reach 246,440.
Wescom’s success is largely due to the growing real estate market in Southern California. According to MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, 35,454 homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in June. This was the highest total in one month going back to 1988.