Freddie Mac has formed a technology alliance with a midsize mortgage bank that specializes in buying loans from credit unions.

Cuna Mutual Mortgage Corp., a unit of Cuna Mutual Group, Madison, Wis., became the first lender to use a sophisticated set of origination tools developed by Freddie. The platform will enable Cuna Mutual and its credit union clients to originate loans on the Internet and is designed to make the mortgage process easier and faster for the credit unions' members.

In return Freddie gets a fee, and it intends to buy a substantial portion of Cuna Mutual's conforming loans.

The advanced platform is built around Freddie's automated underwriting program, Loan Prospector, but it has several features that the widely used version of Loan Prospector doesn't have.

It can assess the value of properties in most metropolitan areas, based on information Freddie has collected from Internet multiple listing services and other sources. It also can give a risk-based, or customized, price minutes after the borrower or loan officer submits an application over the Internet. The borrower then can lock in the rate.

Credit union members will be able to go to their credit union's Web site or to Cuna Mutual's site and fill out a loan application. Stephen P. Renock 4th, president and chief executive of Cuna Mutual Mortgage, estimated that the average credit union member could save as much as $1,500 on commissions by getting a loan this way.

Mr. Renock said that because of its deal with Freddie, "as a medium-size mortgage lender in the world of Countrywide, Chase Manhattan, and Norwest," his company is now on "a level playing field from a technology standpoint."

"We might not have been able to spend the development dollars to do something like this ourselves," he said.

James Taylor, vice president of business development at Freddie Mac, said one other lender is using the advanced platform and that unspecified others soon will do so.

Mr. Taylor said the technology deal gives Cuna Mutual an incentive to sell loans to Freddie. "I think we will see a substantial portion of that business," he said.

Cuna Mutual Mortgage originated $625 million last year and services $5.3 billion of loans.

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