SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (6/27/12)--Credit unions that seek to capture homebuyers' business as soon as consumers begin their home searches could increase their purchase mortgage business as much as 40%, according to a new white paper from CU Realty Services.
"Our most important discovery over the last decade has really been about perspective," said Mike Corn, CU Realty Services CEO. "When credit unions look at the home-buying decision cycle as a lead channel, and design a core program to capture homebuyers' business when they are ready to begin their search--instead of after--everything changes. The credit union is seen as a full-service institution by their members. More members turn to them for help. More members stay with them for their mortgage."
The white paper, "Making the Shift: Helping Credit Unions Establish Real Estate Services as a Core Product Offering," outlines the steps that credit unions can take in adopting real estate services and expanding their core real estate products beyond mortgage loans.
Credit unions currently own about 6% to 8% of the mortgage market--almost half of homebuyers and sellers also are credit union members, according to the white paper. But credit union market share is slowly increasing.
Traditionally, homebuyers and sellers connected with real estate agents first to find a home. Agents would then refer prospects toward preferred banks and mortgage companies, usually excluding any existing credit union relationships.
Today, however, homebuyers and sellers are going online as a first step to investigate the market and find a home instead of turning to an agent. This shift has presented an opportunity for credit unions to step in and capture their member's first point of contact by offering the same real estate-related resources from their websites. Members can now find a home, connect with an experienced agent, get the best mortgage rates and save thousands of dollars on their transaction with just a click, said the white paper.
CU Realty Services recommends that credit unions follow these best practices to increase their mortgage market share:
- Develop executive buy-in to expand the mortgage program;
- Commit the time and resources needed for marketing and promotion;
- Make an emotional connection with members by helping them achieve the dream of home ownership, and becoming their trusted partner and a valuable resource during the entire home buying/selling process;
- Strive to become members' first point of contact, capturing members' attention before they connect with an agent;
- Create an all-inclusive website real estate center where members can self-serve information and connect with resources;
- Establish and nurture relationships with local realtors; and
- Build on members' existing trust of and satisfaction with credit unions.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based CU Realty Services provides real estate services to credit unions across the nation.