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<p>VIENNA, Va. – In what Lou Jennings, executive vp of Navy FCU’s mortgage department calls “a CUSO’s CUSO,” Navy Federal Financial Group, a wholly-owned CUSO of Navy FCU, is forming a separate real estate and mortgage settlement services CUSO – Navy Real Estate Services LLC – that Jennings said will help simplify and lower the cost of the mortgage closing process for Navy FCU’s 2.2 million members. To help in the process of developing a network of settlement agents nationwide, Navy Federal Financial Group has awarded a multi-year consulting and technology contract to Pittsburgh, Pa.-based ATM Corporation of America, one of the country’s leading providers of consulting and technology services to national mortgage lenders who are looking to develop settlement service subsidiaries. ATM provides a full range of appraisal, title, flood and settlement services to lenders throughout the U.S. “Rather than going out county by county and building our own settlement agent network, we will be in effect renting ATM’s,” said Jennings. Navy Federal Financial Group is currently working with First American Title Insurance for the title piece of the settlement service organization. It plans to roll out the service by July 1 in the Washington, D.C. area, including Virginia and Maryland. By the end of 2002, it expects to have the service in Florida, and then in 2003 it will roll it out in 32 other states. Jennings explained that Navy FCU had explored several real estate service opportunities to offer members. Navy FCU is the largest credit union mortgage lender in the U.S. – it closed $3.4 billion in mortgage loans in 2001. The credit union offers mortgage services in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jennings said settlement services were very attractive because it offered Navy FCU a way to control and speed up the settlement title insurance process, and lower the cost of the process for members. While the length of time the process takes varies by state, Jennings said Navy Real Estate Services LLC “can probably save members in about 80% of the states a substantial amount of money, about $200-$400.” He said he was confident Navy FCU members will use the service because “they trust us and know we’ll do it right.” In addition, said Jennings, members using Navy Real Estate Services, LLC will not be charged what he referred to as “revenue enhancements,” which are the multitude of little fees consumers are charged at a closing that can add up to big money. Jennings said these fees are “merely opportunities for lenders to make money at a closing.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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