The evolution of credit union lending

By Liz Robichaud, Credit Union Relations Representative 

When most people think about applying for a mortgage, they probably imagine making an appointment at their local financial institution, filling out reams of paperwork and jumping through multiple hoops to get approval.
 

But is there another way?
 

Across Alberta, it’s a buyers’ market – and although this term may make people looking to sell panic – there’s lots of prospects for buyers and sellers alike. Those shopping for a new home, have more options than ever before. And if you’re selling and your price is reasonable, you can lure prospective buyers on benefits such as great neighbours, landscaping, transit access or nearby schools.
 

And when you’re ready to buy, think about heading to your local credit union. Let me share why
 

Credit unions are unique. They not only offer great mortgage products with low rates, but also yearly profit-sharing (aka money back in your pocket). Credit unions are also more flexible than big banks, as they are accountable to members as their primary shareholders. This means personalized service: your rate is based on who you are, not just an algorithm from a computer, and approvals happen at a local level. Credit unions can truly meet you where you’re at with the exact mortgage you need.
 

The entire system is working right now to evolve and become more digital – this means online mortgage applications and quick approvals. Several credit unions already offer online account opening tools, with more to come.
 

Some other upcoming changes include partnerships with external mortgage brokers, implementing electronic signatures and sending mobile lenders to members. A recent report from McVay and Associates Ltd. (a firm dedicated to monitoring financial services in Canada) indicates how important the credit union evolution is. The organizations that are working to be more innovative – with better mortgage rates, participation from brokers and specialized sales staff – saw the strongest results in 2018.
 

Credit unions are also committed to developing internal lending staff. Once a year, Alberta Central works with the Credit Union Lenders Association to facilitate a conference that brings junior and senior lenders together to network and learn. The system wants the best and brightest lending talent working for them to help existing and new members get the products they need.
 

So whether you need your first mortgage, it’s time to renew or you’re a recent grad or senior leader who works in lending, it’s time to think about a credit union. Find one near you today.

 
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