Growth Through Education

Lately, we read headlines about consumers being “given” loans that they cannot really afford. By educating members, credit unions are helping members make the right decision.

 
 

The hot topic in nearly every single financial publication today is the real estate “bubble.” Lately, we read headlines about consumers being “given” loans that they cannot really afford. Interest-only mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, and even 40-year mortgages have been invented to help lower the consumer’s monthly payment.

By educating members, credit unions are helping them make the right decision, not the profitable decision. In turn, credit unions are building stronger members and strengthening their positions as the trusted financial provider.

 Financial Calculators Educating Members

One credit union that puts member education at the core of the home-buying process is Wescom Credit Union ($3B in Pasadena, CA). Through its virtual Mortgage Center, Wescom is helping members make the right decision through a series online tutorials and calculations. Members can learn about the different mortgage products Wescom offers, such as fixed-rate versus adjustable-rate loans, then crunch the numbers and finally apply online.

The results have been superb! The mortgage calculators alone have received an average of over 2,000 user sessions a month, with the average user viewing eight pages. This tool was a large catalyst in the 35 percent real estate loan growth Wescom saw this past year—in a $245 million increase over the prior period.


Learning About Your Members

In addition to educating members, these calculators serve as a great tool to educate credit union staff about members’ interests. The credit union can track how visitors are using the tool, e.g. Are members creating their mortgages based on an ARM? Has the HELOC definition page received a lot of visitors? Are members more interested in 15-year or 30-year loans? This allows credit unions to align their products and services with their members’ needs and interests.

Callahan & Associates has helped over 25 credit unions implement and improve their financial calculators. There is a wide range of calculators available, including a Spanish language suite. To learn more about financial calculators, please e-mail jjeffreys@creditunions.com.

 

 

 

July 4, 2005


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