By Bob Dorsa
Do you know which of your credit union’s members are Realtors?
This is an interesting question for a couple of good reasons. Both of them could help you with your mortgage lending business—and beyond.
First, Realtors are pursuing the same goals as credit union mortgage programs: helping people achieve the American dream of home ownership.
In addition, Realtors (like credit unions) are community-based. Therefore, they know your local market.
These facts make it clear that Realtors can help steer business to you, whether the prospective home owners are currently members of your credit union or eligible to join. If they know what kinds of home loans you offer, they can refer their clients to you when they have a good match.
And if a Realtor is a member of your credit union, you should make sure they do know your loan products—and your membership qualifications.
So, do you know who they are?
The point is, you should be asking your members about their occupations to better tailor your services to them. You should include an occupation question on a member application, and you should have a system that allows you to search your membership by occupation. Then, when you determine it’s in your member’s best interest, you can offer them a specific loan product.
Obviously, this strategy extends beyond mortgage loans, but you get the idea: using occupation to better serve your members’ needs by identifying products that would appeal to them.
As another example, Realtors aren’t the only professionals who can help you grow your business. If you have members who own small businesses, they may need a business loan. If you have members who serve in the military, they may want a home loan with a variable rate (if they expect to move to another location in a few years). You can think of dozens of situations (and not just professionals, of course) in which you can match product to members.
It’s easy to add a question about occupation to a membership application, but a bit more difficult for your existing membership. Some ideas:
- Add a contest to your member newsletter or promotional mailing that requires them to provide name, address and occupation to enter.
- Collect the information through your website with a contest, drawing for a prize, or a $25 deposit for winners.
- Feature a Member of the Month in your newsletter or on your website, and encourage members to submit applications (with occupation, of course).
- Ask members who visit the branch to fill out a short form containing information about their occupation and drop it in a box when they leave—offer some sort of incentive, such as a drawing for a prize.
- Keep track of which members haven’t provided occupation information and contact them—via mail, email or phone—to encourage them to visit a branch and provide occupation information when they visit a branch.
Bob Dorsa is the president of ACUMA, the American Credit Union Mortgage Association. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (877) 442-2862.