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BOSTON — The guest speakers at the Mortgage Bankers of America’s 94th Annual Convention and Expo here Oct. 14-17 had that “Who’s Who” cache, with Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines) Bono (U2), Doris Kearns Goodwin (Pulitzer Prize-winning historian/author) and George Foreman (heavyweight boxing champion) on tap. A panel presentation on Oct.16 also featured Joe Brancucci, SVP at BECU, Tukwilla, Wash., and president/CEO of Prime Alliance on how the credit union has championed availability of the electronic delivery of mortgages.BECU recently had its first successful e-mortgage closing, and Brancucci gave the audience the vitals of BECU’s mortgage program and an overview of how it developed the member experience over time into a streamlined, efficient, member-friendly operation.A dose of reality and truth found Brancucci telling the crowd, “Getting a mortgage from the credit union was time consuming, fraught with miscommunication, displeasing to our members and horribly inefficient.” Members expected better service from the CU and BECU “routinely disappointed” in that sphere even while surpassing in other service and product deliver, he said.And while BECU “didn’t go paperless overnight,” it did make incremental steps leading to that goal “as technology and the industry allowed.” Members noticed immediately, said Brancucci. “Shortly after launching our online lending presence, more than 65% of our applications became self-originated by our members. No more waiting for an appointment. No more waiting for an answer. We then took the next paperless step: electronic disclosures. Not only were members pleased to have this information immediately rather than three days later, it saved us a significant amount of money.”Next came online/real-time updates that informed members about progress. The next hurdle was about taking the stress out of closing day. A big leap came when BECU could deliver every closing package to the escrow company one week before closing, allowing for a thorough and unhurried review by the closing agent. “We have many closing agents in Puget Sound who’ve remarked to our members that they really appreciate BECU closing packages because they’re on time or early, and they are accurate,” Brancucci said.Then, two years ago, BECU began electronically delivering the closing package to the member in advance of the closing. That way, if members have questions, they can call the CU. Going completely electronic and fully paperless is another, but probably not the final step. But it’s likely to be as well received as the earlier advances, he added.

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