ACUMA Conference Gives Realtor Connection Tips

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LAS VEGAS – Credit unions have been told for months now an opportunity exists in the mortgage lending space – on Thursday they were told how to build relationships with Realtors to make that prospect a reality.

Sue Willard, president of content and publishing for Holmdel, N.J.-based Mortgage Success Source, told attendees of ACUMA’s 2010 Annual Conference the marketplace has changed from five years ago, when there was a glut of mortgage companies. “Today, 80% of the competition is gone,” she said. “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.”

Willard’s five-point plan: Target, Research, Approach, Appointment, and Analyze and Proceed. She said a CU’s mortgage loan officers should contact members to obtain names of local real estate agents, then look at the agents’ websites to gather pertinent information. The first contact should be a handwritten note, saying the credit union had heard great things about the agent and hopes to have a chance to meet him or her. “This has a 95% success rate for generating qualifies leads,” she said.

After meeting the real estate agent and taking no more than 20 minutes of his/her time, Willard recommends taking a “professional pause” to consider if the agent is someone worth building a relationship with. “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.”

“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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