Strategy: Replicate Market Leaders

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66 FCU is one credit union, but has four brands. in addition to its 66 FCU brand in Bartlesville, Okla., it is known as ConocoPhillips Credit Union in Houston, KU Credit Union at the University of Kansas, and as Tyson Credit Union to that company's employees in several states.

"It sounds a little cumbersome, but it works well," explained Senior VP Mark Wilburn. "Otherwise, why would someone at the University of Kansas join 66 Federal Credit Union?"

In 2003, 66 FCU originated loans in 32 states and serviced loans in 39 states. Wilburn credited the Internet for allowing it to expand its reach. He said the credit union's philosophy is it must replicate what national lenders are doing to compete.

"Online members are better educated than other members," he said. "They know what's out there in the market. They see the advertisements for DiTech and LendingTree.com. They require faster responses and extended service availability."

The credit union's mortgage business through May 31 of this year is down from 2003, which Wilburn said is expected with the end of the refinance boom. However, as people become more familiar with technology, more members are completing mortgage applications online.

To promote the online mortgage program, 66 FCU mentions the availability of the online application in its marketing pieces, and hosts home-buying seminars in all markets.

"We think those seminars are really important," Wilburn said. "We also work with Realtors. All Realtors have websites now, and we are working to get a link from the Realtors' pages on loan information back to our mortgage loan program page."

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