TORONTO – CUNA Mutual Mortgage unveiled the newest version of its online mortgage application at CUNA Mutual Group's Discovery Conference here (see special report on pages 14 &15 for other mortgage-related stories ). One of the major enhancements of the new solution – MEMBERS Choice Net Mortgage Plus – is the ability of participating CUs to place loans coming from the system in their portfolios. With CUNA Mutual Mortgage's first online lending piece, netMortgage, CUs did not have the option, with most mortgages eventually being sold to Freddie Mac. The 38 CUs using netMortgage will be upgraded to the new version this summer. Credit unions will also be able to use the system internally as their loan origination system. Offering mortgage lending online has been a learning experience for CUNA Mutual Mortgage. One of the interesting things it has discovered is that people may be in the office on Tuesdays between 3:00-5:00 p.m., but they're not necessarily working. That timeframe is the most popular time for members to apply for a mortgage online through netMortgage. In fact, normal business hours on weekdays dominate as the hottest application times. CUNA Mutual Mortgage Executive Vice President Dan Green said applicants are probably trying to take advantage of their faster Internet connections at work. He said as broadband connections become more common in homes, the trend may change. The applicants aren't all young Gen X'rs either. The average age of applicant is 45 years old, applying for a mortgage of about $145,000. One thing that is consistent about online applicants is they tend to have solid credit ratings, most are either A or B paper. CUNA Mutual Mortgage President/CEO Stephen Renock said Net borrowers expect speed, convenience and a better deal than traditional mortgage shopping. He said some large banks are actually looking at mortgages as loss leaders, pricing them very aggressively with the hopes of making the money up in the future with cross-selling opportunities of credit cards and other products. Renock said CUs are going to have to stay aggressive on pricing, especially with any online mortgage solution they're offering, if they want to compete with the big banks. CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corp. also announced at Discovery that it has selected LendingTree's Lend-X technology to enhance its online mortgage solution. LendingTree's Lend-X technology will allow CUs using netMortgage to embed online mortgage resources into their Web sites. It's designed to assist CUs in the loan origination and loan tracking process. It also gives CU loan officers the ability to use the netMortgage solution as their primary lending tool from their desktop. It was the key for CUs being able to retain the servicing of the mortgages generated on netMortgage. The netMortgage solution is already linked to Freddie Mac's Loan Prospector solution, giving members online mortgage pre-approval in four minutes or less. [email protected]

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