Maine Mortgage CUSO Finds Success in Promises
CUSO Mortgage, a mortgage CUSO serving between 30 and 40 credit unions from a headquarters in Halpern, Maine, has used a series of promises to sharply increase the numbers of first mortgages it issues.
The CUSO developed, launched and marketed the CU Promise loan, a mortgage loan that makes three guarantees: first, that the borrower will receive a decision on their loan within 24 hours after putting it an application; second that the borrower will be able to designate a closing date and the CUSO will meet that date and, third, that the servicing of the loan will be kept inside the state of Maine for the life of the loan.
CUSO Mortgage CEO John Reed said that research had demonstrated that mortgage borrowers especially valued these three parts of the home financing process when they went well and dreaded them going badly. In fact, some homeowners surveyed had stories about closing dates postponed, sometimes for weeks, very long decision times and of having their loan servicing sold to firms far out of state who didn't understand many Maine residents' often unique perspectives on their loans and homes.
The CUSO mounted an ad campaign across the state that included print, radio and television spotsand helped the CUSO reverse its previous ratio of purchase money to refinance mortgages. Last year, purchase money accounted for just under 20% of the mortgages that the CUSO issued, Reed said. So far, through the first quarter, purchase money accounts for between 50% and 60%, he added.