Credit unions that are looking to increase their purchase mortgage business understand the importance of their members staying “in-house” when it comes time to close on a new home. This is not always easy. A key goal for credit unions is to prevent their members from being persuaded to use other financial institutions once they find their dream home—but how?

Here’s where the good, the bad and the better comes in. The good news is that your members are pleased with your credit union and enjoy the high-quality customer service and local understanding that they can only get with a credit union. The bad news is that most home buying members spend more time looking for a home than they do searching for a mortgage—and they go online or to a real estate agent as their first step. That means that your credit union is already sitting on the bench from the start of the game.

But the better news is that your credit union doesn’t have to just sit on the sidelines shouting out mortgage rates and hoping to get into the game before closing. Real estate agent referral networks are a game changer. More than one-third of home buyers choose a mortgage lender based on their real estate agent’s recommendation. By having a player already on the inside, already in the middle of the game (and calling a lot of the plays!), your CU can remain pivotal in the home buying member’s purchase journey.

Our CUSO’s recent research revealed that 78% of CU members using a HomeAdvantage-approved agent close their home loan with their credit union. Having a real estate agent network on your side means you keep your members connected to and looking at your credit union when it’s time to finance their purchase. Your credit union becomes “sticky,” if you will. One CU that uses a real estate agent network, Wright-Patt Credit Union, recently shared, “...we no longer worry about losing our mortgage loans to our competitors. Having a team of trustworthy real estate agents to partner with has allowed us to keep 96% of our mortgage loans that come through the program.”

Getting in early—at the start of the home-search phase with a credit union member—through a program and network like HomeAdvantage, is essential. And it leads to a lasting connection that goes through closing day. As Gary Prager, director of consumer sales with Space Coast Credit Union, put it, “HomeAdvantage is helping us stay in front of our members before they choose another lender…” 

Read more about Walking the Path to Purchase with Home Buyers on our blog.