Don't miss out. Skip to the entry you want to read by clicking on the links below.
Victoria Taylor, a marketing and engagement manager at Callahan & Associates, and her husband, Matt, are on the hunt to find a perfect home. Join them on their journey in this CreditUnions.com timeline exclusive.
Why We Didn’t Get Our Mortgage From A Credit Union
Matt and I did not get a mortgage from a local credit union. It feels odd to say, especially here on CreditUnions.com, but before you come at us, pitch forks blazing a la “Beauty and the Beast” let me explain.
We think there is a good lesson here for both first-time homebuyers and credit union executives who want to work with those potential lifelong members.
Before Matt and I moved to North Carolina, we had a relationship with a local bank and a local credit union in the DC area. We also had accounts with two online-only financial institutions.
We moved knowing we would buy a house eventually and made the choice to not take on another financial relationship until we were ready to buy. Then we would base our decision on which credit union had the right mortgage product for us.
That turned out to be a mistake.
Here three observations I think serve as good the lesson is for credit unions:
Invest In Marketing To Millennials: Although I am a millennial, I've never jumped on the “millennials are so different” bandwagon. But we are different. The fact we chose a house before a lender speaks to the fact no one was talking to us. Market your mortgage products — or any products — to millennials before we need them so you’re top-of-mind when we’re ready to make big life purchases. We’re listening, even if we aren’t immediately acting.
Market To New Residents: I suspect data on people who are new to town is available for purchase (or even free through county and city records). When we moved from Washington, DC, to Raleigh, NC, we received marketing collateral from Home Depot (renovate!), West Elm and Crate and Barrel (decorate!), and others. I would have loved to see something, anything, from a local financial institution, bank, or credit union welcoming us to the area and letting us know the locations of nearby branches and services available.
Keep Local SEO On Point: According to data from Callahan & Associates, there are 19 credit unions with at least one branch in Guilford County, NC. After we made an offer, we immediately pulled up Google on our phones and searched “mortgage loan Greensboro, NC”. The only credit union that appeared on the first page was a paid ad. Did you know if you appear 50th or lower on search results you’re basically obsolete? Make sure potential members can find you when they're looking for you.
The entire mortgage process went so quick that we didn’t have time to think about, let alone research, which credit union was going to be right for us. So, we went with our real estate agent's recommendation of a local mortgage company.
And I’ll admit, we don’t regret the decision.
The lender we chose was local, experienced with first-time home buyers, and offered a competitive rate. It was also accommodating and accessible, with staff available on weekends and at night to process documents and answer our questions.
Now that we’ve secured financing — it’s on to the home inspection.
— Matt Taylor contributed to this article.
Click through the timeline below to see homebuying milestones and read more from the series. Come back to CreditUnions.com to read about the Taylors' experience in making an offer and financing a home loan.