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AUSTIN, Texas - Successful lenders are also successful cross-sellers, according to one person.

Bruce Callen, president of Teres Solutions, a provider of lending origination software to 110 lenders in the U.S., stressed that for a credit union to do well in 2007 as a lender it cannot be satisfied with just the one loan the member is financing.

"When a credit union gets in an application for a direct or indirect loan, for a car or boat or whatever it is, the key is to be able to immediately offer other lending opportunities," Callen said. "Banks have been doing it for some time by using technology. Examine the members' credit score, amount of debt and other factors, and see if they qualify for a credit card or other loans. This helps increase the credit union's lending profile by having more products out there."

In particular, there needs to be more of a focus on the retail side of lending, Callen asserted. He said it is important to have more of a sales culture within the organization, offer additional loan products to members, incent the staff with commissions for loans, and offer incentives to get members into branches.

"All of those are things credit unions can do immediately. It is just a matter of making a conscious decision that the credit union wants to focus on lending," he said.

Using technology to quickly review loans is a key, Callen said. This helps ride the ups and downs of the volume of loan applications. When things are booming, he pointed out, CUs have to hire additional staff to handle high volume. But, when things slow down, they have to redirect those resources.

"A shift is necessary," said Callen. "Credit unions need to analyze and report what yield each product has, examine the market, and be ready to shift from one product to another quickly and easily. That is where technology is useful, and having one lending system for all lending activities."

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