5-Point Plan Offered To Grow Mortgages

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LAS VEGAS-Credit unions have been told for more than a year that an opportunity exists in mortgage lending space-but there has been significantly less concrete information on exactly how to do it.

Sue Willard, president of content and publishing for Holmdel, N.J.-based Mortgage Success Source, offered several suggestions. She told attendees of ACUMA's 2010 Annual Conference that compared to five years ago, "Today, 80% of the competition is gone. The mortgage business has a black eye. Real estate agents and potential clients have been abandoned and they are skeptical and confused. Realtors want a great relationship with their lender, but some don't have one any more and others have been let down. There is an enormous opportunity for credit unions that never existed before."

How To Identify The Target

Willard's five-point plan: target, research, approach, appointment, and analyze and proceed. She said mortgage loan officers should identify real estate agents, then use the agents' websites to gather pertinent data, including personal information that can help forge a connection with that agent.

Once some information has been gathered, the first contact should be in the form of a handwritten note, she said. It should say the credit union had heard great things about the agent and hopes to have a chance to meet him or her. The key is simplicity. "This has a 95% success rate for generating qualified leads," she said.

The meeting between the loan officer and the real estate agent should take no more than 20 minutes to show respect for the Realtor's time. Keep the conversation on the agent to give him/her a chance to talk-the CU representative should be taking notes.

"Originators do not have to work with every Realtor they meet," Willard noted. "Find out what is working well with their current lending partnership and what things the agent would change if they could. This tells if that person will be good to work with."

To make an impression, tell the agent to bring $20 to the follow-up meeting at a coffee house-a guaranteed conversation starter. "This impresses people, and it will impress the Realtor." Once the CU has established a relationship with real estate agents, the key is to meet their needs. This can include sending leads, doing co-branded marketing, printing open house flyers or special alerts on impactful changes to the financial markets. "Credit unions do not have the black eye the rest of the financial industry has, so now is the time," she said.

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