Credit unions face a challenging environment. Focused on peoplerather than profits, credit unions have fought to preserve thevalue and service standards that have always differentiated themfrom other financial institutions. Many of these other institutionshave simply increased fees and reduced services in the face of thedramatic economic and regulatory challenges over the past fiveyears.

One area of business that presents both an opportunity and achallenge for credit unions is mortgage lending. A 2010 white paperon best practices in credit unions covered how a significantopportunity existed for credit unions in mortgage lending. Thewhite paper stated, “Importantly, the financial crisis in Americahas consumers more aware of how a mortgage loan fits into theiroverall financial plan – building broadbased financialrelationships using the mortgage as an entry point is a growingopportunity for credit unions.”

One of the more important aspects of the mortgage lendingfunction is the efficient and compliant management of the propertyappraisal process. However, most credit unions are still managingthe appraisal process through a combination of spreadsheets andemail. The inefficiencies and risks associated with such a systemcannot be overstated.

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