For the first time ever, credit unions originated more than 8% of all U.S. mortgages originated in any given three month period, Callahan and Associates announced in May. The previous record had been just over 5%.
Lydia Cole, director of industry analysis for the firm, said that credit unions hit this high point during the first quarter of this year to credit union mortgage executives attending a mortgage lending regional workshop in Orlando, Fla. The firm reported that credit unions originated $26 billion in first-mortgage loans, which included both purchase money loans and refinancings. That figure ranked the industry as a whole as the third largest mortgage lender in the country, behind Wells Fargo and Chase Bank.
Robert Dorsa, president of the American Credit Union Mortgage Association, attributed the accomplishment to what he called very hard work on the part of credit unions that have committed to make mortgage loans. “We haven’t seen a big jump in the numbers of credit unions that are offering mortgages,” he said, “so the increase is coming from credit unions that are doing everything they can with what they have got.”
Much of the volume generated was due to refinances, which were spurred on by record low interest rates. Now there are signs that their success represents more of a sustainable trend than a mere statistical anomaly.
“I definitely think it’s more than a flash in a pan,” said Scott Toler, CEO of the Credit Union Mortgage Association, a housing finance CUSO headquartered in Fairfax, Va. “I think it’s the result of more credit unions waking up to the importance of housing finance and finding the confidence to start offering mortgages to their members.”
More good news on the mortgage front was offered by giant Navy Federal Credit Union.
October was a record month for housing finance at the $51.6 billion credit union, which saw the nation’s biggest credit union book over $1 billion in mortgage loans. The credit union said that the total boosted its year to date housing finance lending to more than $8.3 billion.
“Having ample products, competitive rates and specials like offering to pay up to $2500 in closings costs are a must in matching members to mortgages that suit their budget," said Jack Gaffney, executive vice president for lending at Navy Federal.