Ukrainian CU Grows Mortgages With Web-Based Tools
A Web-based mortgage processing solution is helping a small Ohio credit union grow its business and its presence among the ethnic community it has served for more than 50 years.
The $81 million Cleveland Selfreliance FCU in suburban Parma recently deployed the XetusOne loan management system from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Xetus after a previous provider went out of business, said loan officer Irene Bycko.
The new solution brought new functionality, she said, allowing Bycko and her partner to pre-approve 10 to 15 mortgage loans in the past month for members of Cleveland’s immigrant Ukrainian community.
The XetusOne system provides origination, subordination and modification processing functions and automates compliance, credit reporting and asset-liability input, easing a number of tasks the two loan officers had been performing on paper, Bycko said.
The system runs in a software-as-a-service environment, allowing the credit union to avoid the cost of buying servers and maintaining the software. The credit union is charged per loan processed, rather than paying per-seat or per-user charges, making it cost-effective for her small operation, Bycko said.
That also allows the loan officers to concentrate on their constituency, many of them like Bycko, for whom English is a second language. Cleveland Selfreliance focuses on helping the new Americans through their cultural transition and assimilation by facilitating the process of buying a home.
Many of them are recent immigrants and work several jobs while improving their English, Bycko said, adding that every little bit of help the credit union can give helps move them along the path to self-sufficiency.
"We do applications in English, so if our members don’t understand something, we can help them with it," she said. "We’ve been doing that for years, and it’s especially important for those who have only been in this country for a year or so, and now we can do it more efficiently."
Bycko said she was nervous about taking on a new piece of sophisticated software. "I was extremely nervous at first," she said, "because I’m generally uncomfortable with technical systems and computers, but this was particularly user friendly."
She said she used the vendor’s customer service a lot, including being walked through her first application on XetusOne. "For my second loan application, I completed 90% without any assistance," she added. "And I did a whole one myself just this morning."
That’s good, because demand could be growing, even in rough economic times. "Business is picking up and we’re using it more and more," Bycko said. "We’re a family oriented credit union, so we do not flatly decline a loan. We work on providing loans consistent with the needs of our Ukrainian membership."
Cleveland Selfreliance is one of about 60 clients, and more than 30 credit unions, using Xetus loan software, said Scott Stein, the company’s president/CEO. He said the per-app pricing structure makes it cost-efficient for small credit unions all the way up to a top-five bank his company services.
"Our system serves as a middleware of sorts, with Web-based architecture that can take in supporting documents from both public information and from a lot of legacy systems. We kind of sit in between there, between the older systems and the browser world everyone has become familiar with, and gather all that data and prepare everything all the way to the closing documents," Stein said.