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WASHINGTON – Are credit union pre-approval letters respected by real estate agents? Yes, according to responses to a recent nationwide survey from more than 1,700 real estate agents conducted by Washington, D.C.-based research firm Campbell Communications. Among the findings of the survey, real estate agents consider mortgage pre-approval letters issued by credit unions to be more reliable than pre-approval letters from nearly every other type of mortgage provider. When asked, “For each of the following types of mortgage providers, please select, in your experience, the approximate percent of pre-approval letters that turn out to be invalid because homebuyer income, credit, or assets were not correctly verified,” respondents indicated that pre-approval letters from credit unions were invalid less frequently than pre-approvals from mortgage brokers, national lenders, local lenders and Internet lenders. Only pre-approval letters from mortgage partners of real estate brokerages were found to be more reliable than those from credit unions, and by only a small margin. Real estate agents also indicated that reliable pre-approval letters were a major factor in recommending a direct lender such as a credit union. Respondents were also asked, “If a national organization, such as a trade group, developed a standard form for pre-approval letters, showing which conditions have been examined and which conditions are still outstanding, would you be more or less likely to recommend mortgage providers using this standard pre-approval form?” Data show real estate agents are in favor of a standard form for pre-approval letters – 80% said they’d be “much more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to recommend lenders using a standard form for pre-approval letters. Only 17% said they’d make no change in their recommendations if mortgage providers used a standard form for pre-approval letters; 2% said they’d be less likely to recommend; and 1% said they’d be much less likely to recommend a mortgage provider that used a standard form for pre-approval letters. Bob Dorsa, president of the American Credit Union Mortgage Association (ACUMA) said the group is currently working with its member credit unions to find the “best of the best” pre-approval packages to make available to all ACUMA members. -

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