With home-buying season approaching, it is time credit unions tidy-up their home lending message so they can hit the ground running as demand begins to increase during a traditionally busy season. Making your message clear and concise will not only neutralize the competition’s efforts to lure members away, but will ultimately result in long-term business.
A vast majority of consumers have little-to-no idea of the benefits credit unions provide for home loans. It’s up to your team to deliver that message to enhance your brand and ultimately contribute to your portfolio. Start fresh and sort out your efforts to ensure the proper tactics are in place to achieve maximum growth.
Step One: Education
Education is two-fold. Make staff training a priority and educate them so they know when and who to refer to your mortgage department. Ensure all staff is knowledgeable in how a member can contact a loan officer, where a member can apply, and how to look for a member who might be interested.
Educating your members is also crucial. Today, they have more questions and are seeking more information prior to even considering the option to buy. Make sure you are a leading resource of information. Some ideas might be to host home-buying seminars, credit score seminars, feature educational brochures or flyers with more info on what to expect when buying a home. Make sure you have plenty of information available for members and a staff that knows how to refer them to your loan officer.
Step Two: Home Loan Application
Your credit union should have a seamless, easy-to-use home loan application system to get the ball rolling. These days many resources are available with an online mortgage website for members. The key to having a great website is to offer great functionality and ease of use. However, many credit unions have a great online application, but forget the importance of making it a priority on their home page and consistently marketing that convenient service.
That said, the online home loan application should be featured first and foremost on the front page of the website, providing easy navigation for members. Remember to make the lending process professional, clean, and uncomplicated – which provides the possibility of more business and highly-coveted, word-of-mouth advertising.
Step Three: Generate relationships with realtors
The message isn’t enough to lead new business for home loans in the door; you need a strong focus on building relationships with realtors. Great realtors know the market, get a large number of referrals for business, and are able to provide the service your members are looking for – they just need to know all the credit union has to offer. It’s a long-term commitment, but a necessary one to truly ensure your lending efforts succeed. Some ideas to nourish relationships are to attend realtor association meetings, sponsor their events, provide the very best of service and even use a realty rebate program to ensure your pre-qualifications get pointed back to you properly.
Cleaning up your home loan message sets the stage for many positives:
Professional, expert image for your members, media, and prospective members
New business opportunities in the form of long-term cross-selling efforts
Enhancing your presence in the community via realtor relationships and marketing efforts
Increasing the odds of becoming a consumer’s preferred financial institution
Growth in membership and assets
Hit the ground running with a solid lending message on education, technology resources, and realtor relationships and you’ll be ready for the upcoming home-buying season that will ultimately elevate your credit union’s value in your members’ eyes – as well as your portfolio.
This article was written by Wallace Jones, vice president of Training, CU Members Mortgage. CU Member Mortgage is a premiere business alliance of Credit Union Resources, Inc. To learn more, please visit www.curesources.coop/cu_members_mortgage.html.