NEW YORK (9/3/08)--Credit unions are touted as a good source for mortgage loans in a Sunday article in The New York Times. Credit union mortgages are available to any consumers who meet a credit union’s membership requirements, are not typically marketed through brokers, and have become more attractive in the past few months, according to the article, “Check Credit Unions for Deals,” by Bob Tedeschi. Credit unions have come through the mortgage crisis better than conventional lenders because they are fairly conservative and usually lend to those members they know fairly well, Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), told the paper. Mortgage lending at credit unions nationwide has gone up in the past year, which is unusual in a down economy, and unlike most lenders, “credit unions still have money to lend,” Hampel added. The article also mentioned the $3.039 billion asset Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU, which offered an adjustable-rate mortgage in late July at 4.875%. The loan features a fixed rate for the first three years and then can adjust by a maximum of two percentage points annually or every three years, depending on the product. The rate can never go beyond 10.875%. Because they are nonprofit institutions, credit unions can charge lower rates than conventional lenders, Michael Dean, Bethpage senior vice president of lending, told the paper. The article also directed readers to CUNA’s website for a list of credit unions.