First-Time Homebuyers, Automation, And NII

Five can’t-miss data points this week on

This week, shows how one credit union is gifting the gift of first-time homeownership, finds that automation in the workforce can be a good thing, counts the ways non-interest income continues to grow in importance, and more.

Here are five can’t-miss data points:


A decade ago, the real estate portfolio at Empower Federal Credit Union was heavy in refinancing. That wasn’t unusual for lenders in 2008, but Empower recognized its refinance volume wouldn’t last indefinitely. To capture more purchase opportunities, Empower started offering a savings program in conjunction with the FHLB of New York in 2010 for members whose incomes fell below the area’s median income. In 2017, Empower booked 161 mortgages through this program, or 13% of the credit union’s mortgage business.

Read more: Empower FCU Grants The Gift Of First-Time Homeownership.



Many people fear an automated workplace means machines will replace humans and put millions of workers out of jobs. That’s not so. As technology boosts productivity, efficiency, and the economy, the nature of work will change. Employees will need skills that complement technology. The economy, and people’s place within it, will thrive as technology operates hand in hand with human capital. In fact, 80% of workers believe automation has already made a positive impact.

Read more: Automation In The Workforce.


The spread between the industry’s net interest margin and the operating expense ratio has narrowed from 36 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 10 basis points as of year-end 2017, according to Callahan data. This is just one measurement that shows why non-interest income has become so important to credit unions. Cutting costs is one way to improve that ratio, of course, but adding products and services that generate revenue and value has proven to be more attractive and profitable in many playbooks.

Read more: Non-Interest Income Continues To Grow In Importance.


Callahan’s own Victoria Taylor’s experience buying her first home was probably a bit different from that of most credit union members. That said, she’s learned a lot as a first-time homebuyer, and has identified three ways credit unions can reach first-time homebuyers, especially those of the millennial ilk.

Read more: 3 Ways To Help First-Time Homebuyers (According To A First-Time Homebuyer).


Countering bankers’ attacks on credit unions in Congress and state capitols will require making the movement’s case on multiple points. Perhaps none is as important as making clear that credit unions are about mission as much as money. In response to Iowa Senate tax bill, the movement held a rally in Des Moines featuring state and national leaders. An estimated 700 backers attended, and the rally drew local media attention. That’s good, free PR, but it’s a single moment in time. Making the message stick requires continuous effort.

Read more: How Well Do You Tell The Credit Union Story?

Happy Reading!

March 26, 2018

Keep Reading

View all posts in:
More on:
Scroll to Top
Verified by MonsterInsights