SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Despite a pandemic that shocked the real estate and mortgage market, CU Realty Services delivered $6.3 million in cash back to credit union members who used its HomeAdvantage® platform to buy and sell homes in 2020. This accomplishment, which is 94% of the value given back during the record-breaking 2019 year, is attributed to an interim support strategy designed to respond to the strains on credit unions during COVID-19.
“In our twenty one years, 2020 was certainly a year like no other,” says Mike Corn, CEO of CU Realty Services. “Although HomeAdvantage was designed to help put credit unions’ mortgage marketing on autopilot, we knew we needed to step in and provide new solutions to challenges that no one had encountered before. We asked ourselves, how can we help our credit unions better support members who–despite the pandemic–still wanted to buy a home. And how can we help them do this while juggling the demands of the refinance boom and remote working environments.”
HomeAdvantage is a turnkey real estate marketing platform designed to help credit unions retain more of their members’ purchase mortgage business. Frontend tools attract members at the beginning of their home-buying journey, while backend systems and personal touchpoints nurture them until they are ready to transact. One of those touchpoints is the connection to a HomeAdvantage-certified real estate agent who is trained to keep credit union financing top-of-mind. When members use the program, they qualify to earn a cash-back benefit at closing called HomeAdvantage Cash Rewards.
RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC
CU Realty quickly evolved in 2020 to support its more than 120 credit union clients across 24 states at a time when credit unions couldn’t give as much attention to marketing purchase loans. Its development and support teams responded with new features and enhancements to HomeAdvantage that would better support their members while relieving resources, including:
- Added virtual tours to property listings on the HomeAdvantage website
- Hosted a series of live real estate webinars that featured top local agents who shared tips on navigating buying and selling during COVID-19
- Offered a special incentive for homeowners to reduce the cost to sell a home
- Streamlined enrollment processes to reduce the time required to register new members
“Our team has pivoted in the last year to help drive credit unions’ business forward while alleviating pressure on resources,” said David Gray, CU Realty Services’ Chief Experience Officer. “As the real estate market rebounds, we are very optimistic about what our partners can achieve in 2021, and are committed to helping them get there. We have several new initiatives coming soon designed to make HomeAdvantage more rewarding for both our credit union partners and their members.”
In 2020, $688 million in loan volume closed through the HomeAdvantage program. On average, credit unions retained 80 percent of their purchase mortgage applications when members used HomeAdvantage.
“We know that keeping our mortgage programs top of mind is vital for earning our members’ mortgage business,” said Dianne Smith, vice president of mortgage services for iQ Credit Union, which serves 80,000 members throughout southwest Washington and Portland. “HomeAdvantage touchpoints have enabled us to keep that contact in place during this very unusual time.”
2020 CASH REWARDS
When members use the HomeAdvantage program to buy or sell a home, they qualify to earn cash-back bonuses at closing called Cash Rewards. Cash Rewards average $1,600 in savings per transaction. More than $55 million in Cash Rewards have been distributed during the program’s lifetime.
CU Realty’s Million Dollar Club recognizes credit unions that have cumulatively saved their members $1 million or more in Cash Rewards. In 2020, Redwood Credit Union and FAIRWINDS Credit Union both joined the club for the first time. Affinity Plus advanced to the $2 million level and BCU advanced to the $5 million level. To date, 12 credit unions are members of the Million Dollar Club. Those credit unions and their lifetime cash-back benefits are:
- Northwest Federal Credit Union (VA): $5.7 million
- Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union (DC): $5.4 million
- BCU (IL): $5 million
- Wright-Patt Credit Union (OH): $2.7 million
- Tower Federal Credit Union (MD): $2.6 million
- Apple Federal Credit Union (VA): $2.5 million
- Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union (MN): $2.2 million
- Partners Federal Credit Union (CA): $1.7 million
- State Department Federal Credit Union (DC): $1.6 million
- Wings Financial Credit Union (MN): $1.6 million
- Redwood Credit Union (CA): $1.1 million
- FAIRWINDS Credit Union (FL): $1 million
“Through our partnership with HomeAdvantage, we are able to deliver an easy and efficient home-buying experience while helping our members save money during one of the biggest financial decisions in their life,” says John Simonsen, Director of Real Estate, at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. “For years we’ve connected our members with this trusted platform offering home search tools, a network of agents, and the financial benefits of Cash Rewards, and we couldn’t be more proud of this Million Dollar Club milestone.”
ABOUT CU REALTY SERVICES
CU Realty Services provides real estate services to credit unions across the nation, helping them increase their purchase mortgage business. The CUSO works with more than 120 credit unions and mortgage CUSOs in 24 states to offer its turnkey real estate marketing platform, HomeAdvantage. Through the program, credit union members can search for homes, research neighborhoods, calculate costs of homeownership, connect to experienced real estate agents and qualify to earn HomeAdvantage Cash Rewards. By offering this program to members, credit unions are able to attract, identify and engage more home buyers, and consequently close more loans. To learn more, please visit www.curealty.com.