MEQUON, Wis. (10/6/08)--Credit unions are bucking the mortgage meltdown trend and are adopting the online mortgage channel, according to Mortgagebot, a mortgage technology provider. “The online mortgage channel has truly arrived,” said Scott Happ, Mortgagebot president/CEO. Mortgagebot provides direct point-of-sale mortgage origination solutions to credit unions. “It’s especially obvious among America’s credit unions. New research from Deloitte Consulting indicates that seven out of 10 mortgage shoppers start their searches online,” he added. Mortgagebot has gained nearly 50 credit union clients in the past 18 months. More than 80% of them have less than $500 million in assets, Happ said. “America’s smaller credit unions understand that the market has changed--and they don’t want to be left behind,” he added. Mortgagebot’s PowerSite helped Tampa Bay (Fla.) FCU triple its mortgage application volume and reduce processing time by 33%, the credit union said. “With subprime lenders out of the way, and few mortgage brokers on the street, more mortgage applications are coming straight to the credit union,” said Dean Clark, Tampa Bay FCU real estate lending manager. Tampa Bay FCU has $318 million in assets. Callahan and Associates research also indicates that credit union mortgage originations in the first quarter of this year were up by 53% compared with last year. Credit unions serve their members when other financial institutions have left the mortgage market, added Chip Filson, Callahan and Associates president. “They have healthy balance sheets, and remain active lenders with ample liquidity,” he said.