REALTORS FCU Initial Turnout Yields Auto Loans, E-Checking Accounts
Since going live in mid-May, the Rockville, Md.-based financial institution, considered to be the first Internet-based credit union in the country, has signed on 600 members and accumulated $700,000 in deposits and $200,000 in loans, said Tom Glatt, president/CEO of REALTORS.
"Some people may say 'you've been open for a month and you only have 600 members.' But this is the pace we really wanted to go," Glatt said. "If we were swamped at the beginning, little things could have been problems."
So far, the credit union has close to 1,000 accounts. Most of the loans approved are auto loans, and there are about seven mortgages in the pipeline. One figure that has everyone excited is that REALTORS is almost at 55% penetration on checking accounts since there was a real push to get members to sign on to e-checking, Glatt said. One of the credit union's primary revenue models is based on debit card usage, he pointed out. Glatt is forecasting that when everything shakes out, there will be a 40% checking account penetration.
The few complaints that have come through have to do with being timed out or the online process taking too long to move forward, Glatt said. Personal calls are made to walk members who are having problems through, he added.
"There haven't been any real show stoppers. We're able to fix things on the fly."
The response to the credit union's opening at the National Association of Realtors' recent annual mid-year meeting in Washington was overwhelming, Glatt recalled. REALTORS' marketing team-Nicole Anderson, Kirsten Ott and Paul Mica (son of CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica)-worked with the group's respective marketing staff to get the word out. The REALTORS booth was swamped the entire time at the NAR conference, Glatt said.
In addition to its online launch, the credit union marked another milestone: its first annual meeting. The May 16 meeting with NAR board members and others lasted all of about 10 minutes, Glatt said. Still, it was a "really good" culmination of months of hard work to get virtual REALTORS off and running.
"The excitement level is high. The [NAR] has a very strong network of incredible [Realtors]."