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White Paper: Realtors Can Benefit CUs

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (4/29/13)--A new white paper from credit union service organization CU Realty Services seeks to ease credit union fears about working with realtors.

While some credit unions think they might lose first-mortgage loans by working with agents, just the opposite happens, said Mike Corn, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based CU Realty Services president/CEO.

"Credit unions worry they'll lose first-mortgage loans, but our client credit unions saw business grow," he said. And while some fear members will receive poor service, members whose credit unions had strong real estate programs gained significant service benefits, Corn said.

The paper is based on a survey of 200 employees at member credit unions about the perceived disadvantages and advantages of working with realtors on real estate deals for their members.

The No. 1 concern among more than a third of respondents was that realtors "can refer members' purchase mortgage loans elsewhere." The next biggest fears were that agents would "provide poor service" and that they "may not understand/work well using our processes."

Yet credit unions' concerns were not confirmed by survey data, the paper said. When asked about the most relevant advantages to realtor relations, 41.2% said they were "a great value-added resource for our members." Just as many said realtors "can help us keep our members' purchase mortgage loans at the credit union." Another 17.6% percent said real estate agents "can refer new business back to our credit union."

Results indicated that 38.5% of respondents said offering real estate services would mean improved services for their membership base and 30.8% said they would grow purchase mortgage business. Another 15.4% specified they want to strengthen their position as members' primary financial institution.

Getting Americans to choose credit unions as their best financial institution is a strategic vision for the credit union movement. One of the ways to do this--through credit unions' Unite for Good campaign--is by fostering service excellence, said the Credit Union National Association. Consumers can find out more information about credit unions at aSmarterChoice.org.