CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Record low rates made 2003 a bountiful year for mortgages for credit unions and other lenders. For North Island CU, the year was not only good for the CU’s mortgage portfolio, but NICU managed to do that while maintaining a majority of the mortgages it processed as purchase transactions rather than refinances which were so popular. According to Diane Valentine, North Island’s operations manager for the real estate lending area, more than 70% of the mortgages the $1,405.5 billion CU funded were for purchases and most of those were for transactions coming through the approximately 50 real estate brokers in the San Diego area that the credit union deals with. “Because of the rate environment we pulled in a lot of first time homebuyers who were attracted to our Adjustable Rate Mortgages,” she explained. Valentine said most of the mortgages the credit union funded were 3-1 and 5-1 Adjustable Rate Mortgages, and she noted that North Island will probably be coming out with a 1-1 ARM soon. In 2003 the credit union funded over 3,600 loans including home equity loans. While Valentine said that number is only about 300 loans more than the CU did in 2003, “the dollar volume was up considerably.” Managing the volume of mortgage traffic is key, said Valentine, and that’s why North Island is using Del Mar Database’s DataTrac management reporting tool for all its mortgage products. Valentine describes it as being “a pipeline management tool.” For example, she said, “If we’re selling loans on the secondary market, it can give us information on what’s locked, what needs to be delivered, and what’s not locked yet. It will also tell us the volume of loans in process, and what needs underwriting. At any given point in time, you can see where the volume of traffic is, what stages your loans are at and see where your loans are in the pipeline. Then you can move staff around or bring on temps to different areas, depending on we’re they’re needed most.” North Island has been using Del Mar Database for about six years. Before that, Valentine said the credit union didn’t have instantaneous data at its fingertips on the status of its mortgage loans. What’s more, she added, is North Island can generate customized reports itself in addition to the “canned” DataTrac reports. “In the shipping area they run reports three or four times daily to see what loans are scheduled to fund, what has funded, and what’s shipped,” she said, adding that, “You can write a report on just about every field out there.” “I don’t know how we managed the mortgage department before we started using DataTrac,” she said. “What we look at one day in a report could be totally different from what we need tomorrow. One day we might be selling loans on the secondary market, and the next day we might decide to keep them.” North Island CU’s mortgage department – including processing, shipping, servicing, underwriting, and an outside mortgage representative – includes 20 people. Valentine said North Island expects to do 60% of the dollar volume in mortgages in 2004 as it did in 2003. She projects home equity volume to be up and first mortgage volume to decline. -

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