Mortgages: Look Beyond Traditional Products

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CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corp. expects CUs will build upon last year's mortgage lending success. Though we expect only minor fluctuations in rates, money will tend to still be relatively cheap.

Member refinances will drop, but credit unions should focus on developing a successful mortgage marketing strategy that includes a year-round promotion of CUs as the place for consumers to go for their loans.

The demand for new-home purchase money will still continue to be a force. We expect a shift in that market to more normal levels and hope to see new consumers enter the market and existing consumers afforded trade-up options.

We see increased demand for more than the traditional financing. CUs should see opportunities to offer wider varieties of products including ARMs, 3- and 5-year balloons, and high loan-to-value packages.

It's difficult to predict events in the regulatory environment. Recent changes in HUD leadership suggest any imminent change to RESPA regs is unlikely. This topic will continue to be of interest to all providers within the mortgage event. Keep an eye on HUD, as RESPA developments unfold, there may need to be a call for action.

A good New Year's resolution for credit unions not providing mortgages is to consider adding that service to their array of offerings. And we encourage credit unions to continue promoting their programs. They shouldn't allow competitive intrusion for their mortgage product to risk the integrity of the credit union membership.

Dan Rotert is SVP/COO, CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corporation.

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