How Is Mortgage Volume At Your CU?

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LAS VEGAS-At the ACUMA 2010 Annual Conference, Credit Union Journal asked, "How is mortgage lending faring at your credit union?"

Florence Boni, mortgage operations manager, Tropical Financial CU, Miramar, Fla.
Our credit union started restructuring mortgage operations this year because it has not been proactive for many years. We are in the process of rebuilding the department. We have implemented a couple of lending platforms to increase originations. We see this as a rebuilding year for us to be competitive next year. We are hopeful because there is a lot less competition.

Phil O'Connor, business development officer, Rockland FCU, Rockland, Mass.
It has been pretty steady over the last two years. We have 100,000-plus members and there is a lot of interest in mortgages by our members. They call us for advice all the time. We have a website, and as part of our basic branch operations we do a good job of getting out the word that we do mortgages.

Don Frigaard, director of real estate services STCU, Spokane, Wash.
We have grown our mortgage lending from $60 million in 2006 by 40% per year until 2010. We went from the 22nd lender in the market to 3rd. The failure of WaMu brought a lot of people to the credit union.

The biggest thing was in 2007 we incented the staff to send us qualified referrals. In three months we had 400 referrals, plus our normal volume. We only paid on loans that closed. We no longer do monetary incentives for referrals, but we conditioned the employees to give referrals.

Kathie Spurling, manager of lending production, Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo.
There has been a definite increase in mortgage lending as the regulatory environment changes. People are giving us a chance that we did not see before. We had a record 2009 with $460-million in mortgage originations. In 2010 we are down from last year but still really busy.

John Sweitzer, mortgage production manager, Alliant CU, Chicago
We have had a tremendous couple of years. We have a small wholesale channel with four brokers. When the jumbo market went away we were able to step in and fill the vacuum. The lack of competition has been a big factor. Our rates went from one of the best to the best by a large margin.

We portfolio everything, and fixed-rate loans are an interest rate risk for us, so we subsidize ARMs. Roughly 80% of our mortgages are adjustable rate.

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