We always like when we can share good news with our credit union readers. A recent report from Inside Mortgage Finance shows that approximately $310 billion in mortgages were reported for the second quarter of 2014. That’s an impressive 32% increase.
There are numerous possible reasons for this increase: the Fed’s bond-buying program that’s helped to push mortgage rates to historic lows; the harsh winter delayed many homebuyers from actively searching and the current warmer weather is bringing them out; and the slowly improving economy and job market.
Chances are your credit union has noticed an upswing in its mortgages. We advise that instead of waiting for the loans to roll in, now is the time – more than ever – to get proactive in growing your credit union’s mortgage volume.
Mortgages were already top-of-mind for many credit unions for 2014. In the Financial Brand’s annual “State of Marketing in Retail Banking” study, 67.3% of responding financial institutions ranked mortgage loans/refinancing as their second most important strategic goal, mobile banking solutions took the number one slot. The study included 300 financial institutions, about half of which were credit unions. You can effectively kill two birds with one stone by combining mobile banking and mortgages. That leads us to our first tip ...
Growing Mortgage Volume
- Go Mobile
Have a mobile app that not only lets members apply for a mortgage, but helps simplify their home search as well. Your members are getting more and more used to doing everything on their smartphones or tablets, and they’ll soon expect to be able to completely interact with your credit union that way. Consider mobile capabilities that would let them electronically verify your receipt of their mortgage application, check their loan status and submit supporting documents if needed. Those financial institutions who can adapt to borrower behaviors the fastest will win.
- Enhance the Process
You might think your credit union’s process is nearly perfect, but there’s always room for improvement. Take another look into streamlining your loan approval and disbursement process. Offer online and/or mobile applications. Or you could team up with a CUSO to facilitate the process. Mortgage Center in Michigan is one example of a full-service mortgage company that’s credit union-specific.
- Get Your Whole Credit Union Involved
One of your credit union’s best marketing resources are its staff and members. Encourage them to bring in new mortgages with a referral reward program. Your tellers and loan officers are also your best advocates to grow loan volume, train them to cross-sell products at every touch point with your members. Also, position your credit union as “the” financial resource for your members and offer financial education/literacy classes, articles, calculators or other resources, linking them to your loan products.
- Promote with Innovation
If your old marketing strategies could use some sprucing up, we’ve got a few ideas.
- Websites like Zillow lets credit unions and banks advertise in their Mortgage Marketplace or co-market with local listing agents.
- Use your big data and identify members with mortgages at other financial institutions who meet your loan/credit criteria so you can target them specifically. This approach will help you conserve your marketing dollars and free up staff for qualified borrowers.
- Use word of mouth by holding a Facebook contest or other social media to ask members to talk about their experience getting a mortgage at your credit union. This not only encourages online interaction and creates positive PR, it also gives you a bank of member testimonials that you can use in all aspects of your marketing campaigns.
- Be Prepared
CUNA says credit union loan balances are expected to rise 9.6% in 2014 and 10% in 2015. When you consider that houses sell, on average, in about two months of being on the market, your credit union needs to be prepared to give borrowers the information they need immediately, anytime, anywhere. And keep in mind that most borrowers don’t consider PFI loyalty when shopping for a mortgage. Accenture found that only 40% of consumers took out a mortgage from their PRI last year.
Finding new ways to grow your mortgage volume can seem a bit overwhelming at times. CU Solutions Group has loan growth experts, so feel free to contact us if you need assistance.