How the Mortgage Department at Indiana’s ProFed Federal Credit Union Built the Real Estate Agent Network of Its Dreams
When a five-year, in-house effort to develop a real estate agent network failed to meet expectations, ProFed found a better solution with HomeAdvantage—a turnkey real estate program from CU Realty Services—that is paying off big.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., October 6, 2017—ProFed Federal Credit Union, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, spent five years working to build their own real estate program. On the surface, preapproval volumes looked good. But far fewer loans were being closed, which meant that those preapprovals were going somewhere else.
“ProFed had loyal members applying for home loans, but a lot of first-time home buyers are influenced by real estate agents,” said Cindy Lake, vice president of mortgage services at ProFed. “We could see that agents were directing our members away from us and toward the agent’s preferred mortgage provider.”
Obviously building a network of trusted real estate agents was essential if close volumes were to be raised, so the mortgage team set out to build one. However, despite exhaustive efforts to build key agent relationships in the community—including joining real estate trade organizations, meeting with agents and delivering presentations on mortgage products—it was clear that the program was not effective.
That’s when the $409 million credit union turned to HomeAdvantage® from CU Realty Services—the largest real estate CUSO in the U.S. The turnkey real estate program offered a comprehensive solution to help ProFed overcome significant hurdles, including networking. “One of our biggest challenges we faced was that a lot of marketing agreements already exist between larger mortgage bankers, brokers and real estate offices,” said Lake. “This made it hard to compete, and making headway required a lot of resources: time, labor and budget.”
And there was questionable ROI. “Our in-house program required a constant outreach effort,” said Lake. “We started tracking our market share a little closer, and we really didn’t see it move. I thought, ‘Wow, we’re really working hard and not really seeing the results.’”
HomeAdvantage solved these issues by providing ProFed with an established and proven real estate agent network that requires very little intervention from the CU.
The HomeAdvantage program gives members the one-stop home buying experience that they want. Members visit the HomeAdvantage site to search for homes, set up property alerts, and connect with qualified, local real estate agents. Members who buy or sell their home using an agent in the program qualify to earn Cash Rewards at closing, an average of $1,550 in savings per transaction.
Within just five months of starting the program, HomeAdvantage helped ProFed:
- Identify and nurture over 1,000 members looking to buy or sell a home
- Connect over 100 of those members to preferred real estate agents
- Acquire 27 new members, referred by family or friends
- Close on 24 mortgages
“These numbers are huge compared to what we saw in the past,” said Sarah Keefer, assistant vice president of mortgage services at ProFed. “We’ve gone from not being able to measure success to being able to quantify results with HomeAdvantage. The program rewards our members for their loyalty and will help us develop better relationships with our members.”
Establishing good real estate agent relationships has paid off for both the CU and its members. “We have a great product to offer now that no one else in our area has,” said Lake. “It’s a sense of having an exclusive offering. And the member benefits are exclusive, too.”
One ProFed member summed up the HomeAdvantage experience in an email to Lake, saying “I didn’t have a real estate agent when I started. The program was such a pleasure to work with. I can’t believe that with the Cash Rewards from the program, I was able to buy new furnishings for my home.”
From a supervisory perspective, launching the HomeAdvantage program was pretty easy in comparison to the measures that ProFed had tried in the past. According to Lake, “The CU Realty Services team has a great onboarding process. It was the smoothest implementation I’ve ever done. They had all the tools we needed to launch successfully, communicate and train. You name it, they were completely here to support us.”
About CU Realty Services, LLC
CU Realty Services provides real estate services to credit unions across the nation, helping them increase their purchase mortgage business. Launched in 2001, the CUSO has worked with more than 100 credit unions and thousands of their members. CU Realty’s range of web-based tools helps home buyers find homes, research neighborhoods, calculate costs, connect to experienced real estate agents, and earn a cash reward. By offering this program to members, credit unions are able to achieve significant increases in their purchase mortgage business.
CU Realty Services partners with hundreds of credit unions and mortgage CUSOs in 24 states. To learn how credit unions are becoming members’ first point of contact, visit www.curealty.com.
About ProFed Federal Credit Union
Founded in 1933, ProFed Federal Credit Union is a $409 million financial services organization with more than 48,000 member-owners. ProFed serves business and consumer interests in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties in Indiana.