NEW YORK (12/23/08)--The American Banker reported that small to midsize credit unions and banks are pushing to boost their share of the mortgage market by taking applications online and training more staff to take applications at local branches during the economic downturn. Mark Wilburn, chief lending officer at 66 FCU, a $470 million asset credit union in Bartlesville, Okla., told the newspaper the credit union offers an online mortgage program because 70% of its members live more than 20 miles from any of its four branches (American Banker Dec. 22). He noted credit unions are making a big push into mortgages and now have 4.5% of the market, compared with 2% five years ago. This year, 66 FCU expects to originate $140 million in mortgages. Currently, it services under $500 million in loans, with another $125 million in its held-for-investment portfolio. 66 FCU installed several computers in the lounge area of its main branch, so potential borrowers could fill out applications there. Its completion rate is 50%--about 20% of the applications are denied and another 30% don’t make it to the closing stage.