It happened. It took a bit longer than expected, but it happened. After 30 years of declining long-term interest rates in the United States, credit union executives may have witnessed the “bounce off the bottom” in the past few months.

Credit union mortgage shops that were shaking their walls with refinance production saw volumes nearly cut in half this past summer. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently forecast that refinance volumes will be down $585 billion in 2014 while mortgage purchase transactions will grow by only $85 billion. If credit unions follow industry trends, they will lose six loans from the tapering of refinancing for every one they gain on the purchase side of the business.

For credit unions that have benefited from and become slightly dependent on mortgage revenue, 2014 will be a time to employ new strategies in the mortgage business. Importantly, credit union mortgage professionals can longer be the self-reliant, hard chargers that knocked out earnings for the organization.

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