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New mortgage loan company rises from CU Mortgage ashes
GARFIELD, N.J. (8/19/09)--A core group of credit union mortgage professionals who worked for the now-defunct CU National Mortgage have opened Clarity Member Services, a mortgage services provider based in Garfield, N.J. They decided to create Clarity Member Services, which opened July 1, because they feel it is the best way to continue leveraging their experience with mortgages and credit unions. “We wanted to do more of what we did best,” said Jill Peterson, Clarity vice president of sales and marketing. “We love credit unions--they’re fantastic to work with and we’re looking forward to providing service to them again.” CU National Mortgage closed this year after filing for bankruptcy in February. Its president, Michael McGrath, pleaded guilty in June to defrauding about $139.6 million from 19 credit unions and Fannie Mae. McGrath admitted to conspiring with others to fraudulently sell credit union loans and use the proceeds to finance U.S. Mortgage’s operations and investments for himself and the company (News Now June 12). None of Clarity’s personnel are implicated in these events. Clarity will offer conventional, Federal Housing Administration, jumbo, condo and co-op mortgage products. Its operation will be unique because it must deliver the same level of service to clients as credit unions bring to their members, Peterson said. Clarity employees six full-time individuals, and is prepared to bring more staff on as needed. Peterson told News Now that while at CU National, she learned some invaluable lessons about what credit unions need, and what could have been done to prevent the crime that shut down the company. Phil Scialabba, Clarity president, said loan files would not be stored onsite at CU National--which had contributed to the fraud at CU National Mortgage. Original documents from Clarity will be shipped to the credit union or investor, and parent companies will not have access. Credit unions also will see the loan process from start to finish by viewing electronic files. They can view their loan files, documentation, reporting and metrics as if the loans were run by their own staff. “We’ll provide a high level of security,” Peterson said. While Clarity will maintain privacy, it also will allow credit unions to come in and look at the company’s records to keep its integrity. “The door is wide open,” Peterson said. Since it opened, Clarity has received a favorable response from its vendors, such as CUNA Mutual Group and Prime Alliance. The company hasn’t started marketing yet, but hopes to sign four or five clients by the end of the third quarter, Scialabba said. The company also will use the same system it had at CU National. There won’t be a long learning curve for staff, he added. “We’re incredibly proud of what we did at CU National,” Peterson said. “It’s extremely unfortunate that one person perpetrated an awful crime that hurt so many people and credit unions.”
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