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DUBLIN, Ohio – It’s only been 90 days since Cooperative Real Estate Services, a DBA for the Ohio Credit Union League Services Corp., became operational and closed loans for three Columbus and Cincinnati-area credit unions, but the recently formed real estate broker for CUs already has its sites set on expanding its services to CUs in the Dayton area. That should happen – assuming everything goes as planned – by the first quarter 2004, says Mike Gaylord, director of business development for OCUL Services Corp. and the principal broker for CRES, and who together with sales associate Scott Fankhauswer, make up the staff of CRES. Cooperative Real Estate Services was formed about 10 months ago, and one of the many things Gaylord has been busy with in the time in between then and now, is joining vital realtor associations such as the Columbus Board of Realtors, the Ohio Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. “Credit unions have always done great in a refi market because that’s driven by interest rates which credit unions are always very competitive with. But credit unions struggle when it comes to the purchase money environment,” Gaylord explains, and the reason for that is because of their lack of relationships with realtors and builders. “Realtors already have a group of lenders they work with and refer purchasers to, and unfortunately credit unions are not part of that group. Credit unions need to be if they hope to be competitive in the purchase market. They need to get involved with realtors early on in the transaction to insure they’ll have the opportunity to compete.” Of course, Gaylord emphasizes, there are no guarantees that even then realtors will give credit unions the business. Credit unions will still have to compete on rates and be able to process mortgages quickly and efficiently, “but at least they’ll have their foot in the door,” he says. So far, CRES has closed about $1 million in loans, listed four properties and launched marketing relationships with Telhio CU, Midstate Educators CU, and Kemba Financial CU which have a combined membership of about 80,000. “We want to make sure members get the same level of service from the realtors they deal with as they’re accustomed to getting from their credit union,” says Gaylord, who noted that while CRES specializes in working with members and credit unions, it can also as a corporation, work with non-members who Gaylord can then refer to a credit union to join if they’re eligible. For non-members who aren’t interested in joining a credit union, Gaylord said Telhio CU has a mortgage CUSO, E-Choice Solutions LLC, that can make mortgage loans for non-members. Gaylord is in the process of creating a co-branded Web site with Telhio, Midstate and Kemba so the CUs’ members will be able to access CRES’ Web site through their credit union’s Web site for information. That’s one of the reasons Gaylord signed CRES to join the Columbus Board of Realtors – it gives credit union members access to that group’s multiple listing service. He also plans for CRES to be operational in Dayton through a relationship with Wright Patt CU by the first quarter 2004. After that, within three to five years, Gaylord would like CRES to have nationwide operations with credit unions. “Most of the major real estate companies have a network of branches around the country, so I want to expand CRES to be able to leverage this,” says Gaylord. -

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