Lending

Selling Mortgages Might Be Easier Than You Think

Many indications point toward a better year in real estate and the overall economy.

April 01, 2012
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Have you avoided promoting your credit union’s mortgage products this year because the real estate market has been in such a slump? Take a look at the market from a different angle: Many people can benefit from refinancing, often multiple times. And there are still many consumers out there who need homes and still believe in the American Dream.

While demand for mortgage refinancing eased slightly at the beginning of the year, in late January the Federal Reserve indicated it would seek to keep interest rates low for the next three years. With mortgage rates the lowest they’ve ever been, refinancing is still a good topic to bring up with members. They might have refinanced within the past four years and think they have the lowest rates possible. But rates have decreased even more, and some members might be able to save more.

The Fed announced that projected economic conditions would warrant exceptionally low short-term interest rates at least through late 2014.“The implication of stable and low inflation expectations by financial market participants today could be lower long-term interest rates,” notes Steve Rick, CUNA’s senior economist.

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In addition to those who’ll benefit from refinancing, other members might be ready for first mortgages. While many reports show more consumers are opting to rent over buying in this weak market, many still recognize the benefits of home ownership and the fact that home prices are at historic lows.

“There’s a lot of optimism building in the real estate community, too,” according to moneyland.com, “so when prices turn, they might turn suddenly." Unemployment claims, for instance, almost hit a four-year low, while the national jobless rate is at 8.3%—not spectacular, but certainly better than the 9% to 10% range of recent years.

It all starts with basic member conversations. Explore each member’s current situation to discover which loan product will benefit them.

While the recovery might be slow, many indications are pointing toward a better year in real estate and the overall economy. That’s good news for credit union lending and great news for your members.

MICHELE FEATHERSTONE is owner of Marketing Insightz, Ramsey, N.J. Contact her at 201-914-8332.

 

MORTGAGE TALKING POINTS

Lower unemployment and a slight uptick in consumer optimism might be enough to give consumers the confidence to jump back into the real estate market.

Keep this in mind and consider these points when communicating with members about mortgages at your credit union:

● Money downMany buyers have the perception that they have to put down 20% to get a mortgage. If your credit union offers programs for members to take out mortgages with less than 20% down, make sure you mention this when talking about your mortgage program. Don’t assume members know this already.

● FeesTypically credit unions offer mortgage programs with fewer fees than their competitors. Provide an overview of the typical fees your credit union charges for its mortgage program, and educate members about this benefit.

● ServiceThe mortgage process is often an arduous one that can be overwhelming to many buyers. Never underestimate the importance of superior service during the process. Reassure members that your credit union’s real estate staff will help them every step of the way.

● Home equity loansDon’t assume all members lack equity in their homes. Many Americans still do have available equity, and now that the unemployment rate has dropped, some consumer confidence will return. Some consumers will jump back into home projects they’ve put off for the past few years.

 

This article first appeared in Front Line newsletter.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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