LAS VEGAS - At the American Credit Union Mortgage Association’s annual fall conference here, Credit Union Journal asked attendees to describe the biggest mortgage lending challenge for their CU in the year ahead.
More coverage from the ACUMA conference is available here and here.
We are trying to stay relevant in the digital space. We have to grab that younger generation, and that means technology. We are pretty progressive, but we are always looking to the future. We checked recently and the average age of our membership is in the late 40s, so we have to attract millennials and Gen Z that is coming up behind them. We want to be faster and more seamless. We have to be centric to their needs. We are launching a new mobile lending app to increase our ease of use. We already have Mortgage Buddy, which keeps all parties up to date on the status of the loan.
Cameron Stearns, mortgage sales manager, $948 million Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, Calif.
Regulatory issues, of course, but also the growing trend of cybersecurity. The supply of housing stock is important. We see a lack of supply in the markets we are in. The growth in mortgages is supposed to be in purchase mortgages, but that is constrained in many of the markets we serve, especially in California. We have increased our team of mortgage lending officers, and we have a good sales team in place, so we think we will grow going forward.
Sabrina Fink, mortgage operations manager for $283 million Partners 1st FCU, Fort Wayne, Ind.
We have been going back and forth on keeping data secure. We are working with vendors and our own IT department to make sure we make it happen. Compliance and regulatory issues are always there. The HMDA changes have taken a lot of time, but I think we are almost ready. When it comes to compliance, we really have to spend a lot of time working with vendors, and then we have to train the staff, so there is a considerable investment.
Anita Domondon, VP of Meriwest Mortgage, part of $1.4 billion Meriwest CU, San Jose, Calif.
Compliance, and how expensive it is to originate and comply with all the new regulations. This affects our pricing, which makes it harder to compete. Years ago we were on the path to doing paperless mortgages, but with Dodd-Frank there are many documents that require a wet signature. Another issue is the Equifax hack, which has caused many consumers to freeze their credit files. The whole impact is still to be determined, but there are possibilities we need to think about. What if someone has frozen their credit file? Will they unfreeze it just to do a refi? If they have to jump through too many hoops, will they decided to stay with the rate they have rather than refi? We don’t know.
Robert McKay, president and CEO, $1.6 billion Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU, St. Louis
Building market share. We have not traditionally had it. We ride waves of refis when interest rates go down, and then when rates go back up our production tails off. We are trying to become more of an integral part of the purchase mortgage market in St. Louis. We are making it a priority. The first step is putting a team together, and we have hired a new VP of lending and several mortgage lending officers, so we are on our way.
Donald Coleman, VP of real estate lending, $909 million USE Credit Union, San Diego
We need to make sure we do not forget we are a credit union and we need to stay focused on what is important – our members. If we do that, we will be fine. There is a lot of noise in the industry right now, with all the different issues, but all lenders have compliance issues. We need to remember our members trust us. The credit union industry still does not have 10 percent mortgage market share, and most credit unions do not have 10 percent market share of their own membership. We need to focus on the membership. Tell the members we offer mortgages, and make it easier for them to apply for a mortgage on our website.
The company's Silicon Valley Bank unit reduced its loan-loss cushion by $52 million. Private-equity and VC clients have warmed to the practice of doing deals virtually, which increases lending opportunities, SVB executives said.