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CUs learn mortgage expansion strategies
DURHAM, N.C. (3/27/08)--"There is simply no other choice: Credit unions have to make more mortgage loans" is the message brought to credit unions attending a recent two-day mortgage lending expansion workshop.
At a workshop on Mortgage Lending Strategies in Uncertain Times are, from left: Martin Eakes, Self-Help CU president/CEO; Brenda Weaver, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions CDCU Mortgage Center director; Rodney Hood, National Credit Union Administration vice chairman; and Randy Chambers, Self-Help CU chief financial officer and federation vice-chairman. (Photo provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions)
That message was delivered by Martin Eakes, CEO of Self Help CU, Durham, N.C. at Mortgage Lending Strategies in Uncertain Times, a workshop held in Durham and organized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. Eakes emphasized the need for credit unions to make mortgage loans by starting with existing members. Credit unions must make more of these loans to survive financially and fulfill the credit union mission, he said. Self-Help CU has provided low-income members more than $5 billion in affordable financing through direct lending and its own affordable loan secondary market. Phil Greer, vice president at Raleigh-based State Employees' CU, agreed with Eakes on how to treat the foreclosure problem. "What's most important is for credit unions to just do the right thing," he said. His credit union's affordable loan program recently won national recognition via the 2008 Herb Wegner Institutional Award. One of SECU's programs provides low-interest loans to teachers relocating to North Carolina; another promotes environmentally sustainable "green" construction. Rodney Hood, vice chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, encouraged attendees to do whatever they could to provide safe, affordable mortgages and emphasized partnerships, such as working with the Federal Home Loan Banks for assistance or groups such as NeighborWorks for housing counseling. Rita L. Haynes, CEO and Gloria McClendon, branch manager and loan officer, both of $10 million asset Faith Community United CU, Cleveland, Ohio, described their foreclosure prevention processes. "Faith Community has been inundated with people coming to us for assistance and working with local organizations allows us to help more," said Haynes. McClendon encouraged credit unions to be creative in pioneering new mortgage products. The credit union's "Wheels Loan," for example, helped members refinance their car payments, which freed up cash for mortgage payments and helped prevent foreclosures. Stephanie Struble of Opportunities CU, Burlington, Vt., spoke of the value of direct contact with members. "At Opportunities, we don't say 'no,' we say 'when,'" she said, adding, "the credit union works with members and the community to help move bad debt into good debt." Bob Dorsa of ACUMA focused on the future of mortgage markets and explaint mortgages are essential to the success of the credit union movement. "Helping people affected by this mortgage crisis may be one of the greatest opportunities for credit unions as a movement," Dorsa said. Brenda Weaver, director of the federation's CDCU Mortgage Center LLC, noted that community development credit unions and all credit unions "are uniquely positioned to help people through the mortgage crisis and the current economic turmoil." The workshop was made possible through assistance from the National Credit Union Foundation and the Center for Responsible Learning.
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