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Paper tells how to make mortgages a core offering

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (6/27/12)--Credit unions that seek to capture homebuyers' business as soon as consumers begin their home searches could increase their purchase mortgage business as much as 40%, according to a new white paper from CU Realty Services.

"Our most important discovery over the last decade has really been about perspective," said Mike Corn, CU Realty Services CEO. "When credit unions look at the home-buying decision cycle as a lead channel, and design a core program to capture homebuyers' business when they are ready to begin their search--instead of after--everything changes. The credit union is seen as a full-service institution by their members. More members turn to them for help. More members stay with them for their mortgage."

The white paper, "Making the Shift: Helping Credit Unions Establish Real Estate Services as a Core Product Offering," outlines the steps that credit unions can take in adopting real estate services and expanding their core real estate products beyond mortgage loans.

Credit unions currently own about 6% to 8% of the mortgage market--almost half of homebuyers and sellers also are credit union members, according to the white paper. But credit union market share is slowly increasing.

Traditionally, homebuyers and sellers connected with real estate agents first to find a home. Agents would then refer prospects toward preferred banks and mortgage companies, usually excluding any existing credit union relationships.

Today, however, homebuyers and sellers are going online as a first step to investigate the market and find a home instead of turning to an agent. This shift has presented an opportunity for credit unions to step in and capture their member's first point of contact by offering the same real estate-related resources from their websites. Members can now find a home, connect with an experienced agent, get the best mortgage rates and save thousands of dollars on their transaction with just a click, said the white paper.

CU Realty Services recommends that credit unions follow these best practices to increase their mortgage market share:

  • Develop executive buy-in to expand the mortgage program;
  • Commit the time and resources needed for marketing and promotion;
  • Make an emotional connection with members by helping them achieve the dream of home ownership, and becoming their trusted partner and a valuable resource during the entire home buying/selling process;
  • Strive to become members' first point of contact, capturing members' attention before they connect with an agent;
  • Create an all-inclusive website real estate center where members can self-serve information and connect with resources;
  • Establish and nurture relationships with local realtors; and
  • Build on members' existing trust of and satisfaction with credit unions.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based CU Realty Services provides real estate services to credit unions across the nation.

CU Solutions Group to market at gas pump

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LIVONIA, Mich. (6/27/12)--Through a partnership with Gas Station TV (GSTV), a video network for gas pumps, CU Solutions Group (CUSG) will market Invest in America (IIA), the CUSG membership enhancement program at the gas pump.

The partnership provides CUSG with a marketing tool to broaden its reach for the products, services and discounts offered through IIA, an affinity program through which credit unions can promote their own products and services with those offered by American-based companies such as General Motors, Sprint, Intuit's TurboTax and Dell.

"When looking for ways to extend the reach of Invest in America, we found GSTV was the perfect partner," said David Adams, CEO of CUSG. "The network's ability to effectively reach consumers both nationally and locally is unparalleled."

GSTV's Internet-based geo-targeting capabilities allows CUSG to customize its messaging to the individual station level in communities where its credit union clients conduct business. The deal means CUSG can drive consumers--by station location--to the credit union branch nearest them. This increases the efficiency of CUSG's IIA marketing efforts by hyper-local targeting its messaging in ways traditional media cannot.

CUSG will become an exclusive remarketer of GSTV's services--offering customized opportunities to more than 3,000 credit union clients nationwide. Credit unions can purchase airtime on GSTV to run customized campaigns that complement the national CUSG IIA program, plus promote their key community initiatives such as promoting auto and home loans where credit union members.

"A great percentage of our credit union clients are hyper-local, meaning that their core target lives three to five miles from the branch," Adams said. "GSTV's ability to target messages down to the individual station level gives us the ability to offer our clients the benefit and impact of broadcast marketing, while our clients are able to maintain the community connection upon which so many branches rely."