BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- A shaky stock market, a credit crunch, and a mortgage meltdown were the signals that led CUMAnet here (www.affinityfcu.org) to respond with a "Loan Health Check-Up" service for all member credit unions.
CU members' uneasy feelings about growing confusion in markets and the health of their mortgages and overall credit standing spurred CUMAnet to launch a free service to provide credit unions with a solution that gives members peace of mind while relieving smaller loan departments. Members can speak to an unbiased home finance consultant who will help them determine the strength and health of their existing or prospective debts-no matter who the lender is.
The home finance consultant will review and compare their entire debt situation to ensure the member is getting the best rates and terms available; ensure they are fully aware of all terms and conditions their debts include and counsel them on possible ways to improve their debt situation if needed. They also offer to find new ways to save and answer any questions or concerns about a loan.
"We believe our organization is one of the few credit union service organizations taking a proactive, positive approach to helping credit unions and their members sort through today's complicated credit environment," said Daniel von Schaumburg, president of CUMAnet.
Eastern New York Federal Credit Union was one of the first member CUs to take advantage of the new program. CEO Chris Langley launched the program in response to ongoing member queries and promoted it with local radio advertising and statement stuffers. "We've had a tremendous response to the program," Langley said. "It's a ready-made solution to calls we've already been fielding, and CUMAnet's support takes the load off our busy loan department. The program is helping to alleviate member concerns about their existing credit obligations and it opens a dialog to offer them other products and services."
Those sentiments were echoed by Joan Moran, CEO of the Department of Labor FCU in Washington, D.C. "CUMAnet did a fabulous presentation to our members and loan officers at a lunchtime meeting in our conference room. It was one of the best programs we've done this year," she said. Moran plans to offer the event again in March at two different locations and aggressively market it to members.
"We presented it to members as an opportunity to learn more about credit and mortgages in general and invited them to bring in their existing documentation and get a better understanding of their existing mortgages. We also had several couples attend who were getting ready to buy and were about to get their first mortgage and wanted to understand the terminology, etc."
CUMAnet gave members who attended the event a glossary of loan/mortgage terms and a Home Buying Tips Guide as a take away to the event. "CUMAnet provides a wonderful turn-key program that was easy for our members to understand, and we were thrilled with the outcome; the feedback from our members was extremely positive." said Moran.
So far, six credit unions have used CUMAnet's program and had numerous other CUs express interest in the service, the CUSO said. They are planning presentations throughout the spring buying season.