Five Ingredients for Double Digit Mortgage Growth

By Jeff Vossen  |  SVP of Mortgage Origination & Operations

It’s that time of year when credit unions undergo business planning for the upcoming year.

The CEO may send you an email or stop by your office and ask, “How much mortgage volume can we expect to produce next year?” Together, you may get out your dart boards and attempt to establish smart growth goals for the next year, but as a business leader, you must drive the final decision. Unfortunately, once you’ve made the decision, you’re sometimes left with the uneasy feeling of, “Why did I commit to that much growth? I have no idea how we will make it happen.”


After nearly two decades in the mortgage business, I can assure you there isn’t a silver bullet to creating the double digit mortgage growth your credit union desires. But, if you leverage these five business development activities, you will be on your way toward success.


Advertising — If your credit union seeks to grow by double digits, it is imperative you increase the general awareness in the community where you offer mortgages. This is achieved with a consistent, multi-touch advertising program which may include radio, print, television and online mediums. It’s an investment, but well worth it if you determine how much you have to invest. By doing this, you can build the right program accordingly. The goal is simply awareness, and over time, awareness translates into quality leads.


External referrals — When you’re in the mortgage business, realtors, builders and financial planners are your gateway to connecting with consumers who may need your experience and expertise to finance their dream home. Building these relationships with referral sources will lay the ground work for a consistent pipeline of quality mortgage leads.


Direct marketing — There is no doubt, particularly in a purchase environment, timing is everything in the mortgage business. It’s not every day consumers look for a mortgage. Typically, a particular life event will trigger a consumers’ need for a mortgage. Focus on predicting those trigger events and initiate communication by email, phone calls or direct mail when the time is right. This will help ensure you’re at the right place at the right time. If you get the timing right and the call comes in, make sure experienced and registered mortgage officers are available to handle those leads.


Branch referrals — Credit unions can increase mortgage penetration amongst its members by training branch employees to know the right questions to ask. This will help uncover a mortgage opportunity, and then, create a seamless transition and introduction to a mortgage loan officer.


Loan officers — My last advice associated with business development is to not underestimate the value or importance of your mortgage loan officers. I discourage cutting corners here. Hire experienced mortgage professionals. Hire the ones that have more than five years of experience and have established relationships with realtors, builders and financial planners. It’s interesting, but your best mortgage loan officers want to work on full commission.


Business planning does not have to be a guessing game where you set a goal and then hope your credit union achieves it. If double digit mortgage growth is your aspiration, a commitment to executing the five activities above will help get you there.