Efforts Worth Noting: United Nations FCU Partners With Smaller CU On Mortgages

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United Nations Financial Services Corp., the CUSO of United Nations FCU, is entering into a partnership with Lower East Side People's FCU to boost homeownership among the latter's mostly low-income membership. UNFCU Mortgage Center will provide loan origination and loan servicing support for Lower East People's FCU, offering its members adjustable rate mortgages, and private mortgage insurance-insured higher loan-to-value loans. UNFCU said it has appointed a mortgage specialist who is fluent in Spanish to assist with mortgage loan queries.

UNFCU said the alliance, the first between the New York-based credit unions, was driven by both marketplace demand and business synergies, noting that the pace of LESPFCU mortgage loan closings has steadily increased over the past year; LESPFCU closed five real estate loans during the last week of May alone.

"LESPFCU and UNFCU have forged a model partnership, demonstrating how large credit unions can support and advance the mission and work of community development credit unions," said Cathleen Mahon, Acting CEO of LESPFCU. "This relationship builds the capacity of Lower East Side to reach a broader spectrum of its low- and moderate-income membership by providing quality mortgage products."

The credit unions reported that the collaboration between the $1.9-billion UNFCU and the $13-million LESPFCU follows a long relationship between the credit unions' senior management teams and "their quest to develop a viable mechanism to work together in areas above and beyond (the mortgage) announcement." UNFCU board members currently provide development guidance to their counterparts at LESPFCU. UNFCU also advises LESPFCU on technology issues affecting the low-income credit union.

"We are extremely pleased and honored to be able to assist LESPFCU. We recall, not too long ago, forging our own path in mortgage lending," said Michael J. Connery, Jr., president and CEO of UNFCU. "Our board of directors and management looks forward to being a sounding board for LESPFCU's dedicated team as they continue to become more competitive in the mortgage lending arena."

In 2003, CUNA named UNFCU Mortgage Lender of the Year in the large asset class based on its financial results and member outreach.

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