2 Real Millennials. 1 Real Mortgage. (Part 4)

This millennial couple is moving into a mortgage. Follow their first-time homebuyer story.


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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Sept. 6, 2017


  • Well written article Victoria! I am curious if the experience after the sale had any bearing on your decision? For instance, if you went through a local mortgage broker, they likely sold the loan to a company that likely will sell to another, and another.....and so on. Some folks are fine with this, but our members tend to want to "stay local" not just with the origination process, but the payment/servicing process. Curious as to any thoughts on this part of the mortgage experience.
    Russ Bernardo
  • Thanks for the comment and question, Russ. It’s good to hear from you! Many credit unions sell mortgages to the secondary market, of course, and we knew that would likely happen no matter who we financed through. And while some credit unions retain servicing rights to keep that relationship in house after the loan is sold, we knew we couldn’t count on that, either. The mortgage broker we worked with was very transparent during the first conversation we had with him that the loan would indeed be sold. We closed in late August and it has already been sold to Chase (we got the notification yesterday). It didn’t really bother us, per se, because the communication has been very open, honest, and clear. However, it was sold so quickly, it caused a few issues with our homeowners insurance – more on that coming soon!
    Victoria Taylor
  • I am from Kansas, but I don't own a pitchfork; however, I do have a concern with articles titled such as this as I believe it perpetuates the myth that CUs aren't as savvy as banks and online lenders. Go ahead, Google CUA, we won't pop up to the top of the search. We are however often in the top 5 lenders by unit and dollars in our market. Yes, ahead of Quicken and BOA. There is more than one way to skin a cat. It's a shame that you didn't educate your realtor to the facts of CU market share growth in mortgage lending over the last few years. Perhaps she'd find an often better lending source. I wonder if you've done a post closing comparison of costs with a local CU lender? It may be painful but good information to have. In my experience Millennials are not that different than other borrowers. They want experienced personalized assistance with major financial decisions. Certainly you can get that from a banker. We've hired several of them.
    Eileen Phelps
  • Thank you very much for your comment, Eileen, we really appreciate it. Congratulations on CUA’s success in your market there. Learning how successful credit unions got that way and stay that way is a big part of what we do at Callahan & Associates, so it’s heartening to hear about what your credit union has accomplished. We would have much rather gone to a credit union for our mortgage. My husband and I did research our options, and were surprised to learn how limited they were for us to go the credit union route. We were in a hurry and perhaps didn’t take the time to do all the research we should have, but I’m sorry to say that we really didn’t have the time at that point. We did mention our commitment and respect for credit unions to our real estate agent, but for expediency, we went with his suggestion.
    Victoria Taylor