Competitive CU Expands Market Reach

Mortgage program encourages new members and first-time home buyers.

August 1, 2011

Who: Todd Helmerson
What: Director, Loan Production
Where: Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Kinecta Federal’s new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) wholesale mortgage program is significant because: It “opens the door” for many members, especially first-time home buyers. Features such as low down payments, flex­ible credit standards, and the ability to gain family members’ assistance for funds and qualifying, allow us to help more people realize their dreams of home ownership. It also supports our national expansion efforts, especially in the Midwest and the Northwest.

The wholesale FHA offerings are a great supplement to our direct-to-members FHA lending: Through the wholesale channel, we offer loans to members and potential members through our business partners—primarily brokers and mortgage banks. Wholesale allows Kinecta Federal to offer FHA and other mortgage products nationally, with much less expense and more reach into different markets. Through our retail channel, loan originators serve members directly—providing mortgage consulting and face-to-face assistance with the application process.

Kinecta Federal is competitive in the many markets we serve: We consider the larger banks and the regional lenders our competition. Our credit union is nationally known, and continues to reach out to promote home ownership and credit union membership.

Innovations on the horizon for CUs in the next five years include: Increased consumer recognition of credit unions’ financial safety, increased market share in mortgage lending, and my dream—larger credit unions uniting to create their own secondary market.

I chose a CU career because: After business school, I started my career as a banker. Mortgage lending was the most fulfilling, which led me to work as a broker for a mortgage bank. Next, I worked for a home builder. Nothing felt right until I joined the team here. Helping others achieve home ownership was my passion. Doing it right—focusing on helping people, not shareholders or company owners—landed me in a credit union, where I’ve been for 15 years.

An interesting story about my childhood: I ran for student-body president in high school because I didn’t like the box lunches. We had a new school (located in a rural area with no other choices) without a real kitchen. My platform must have worked—I was elected, and the school board funded a new kitchen. But I never got a hot lunch because the new kitchen opened after I graduated!

The worst advice I ever received: Don’t do it.

The most unexpected event that happened to me in the past year: A new little one (a boy) came into my life.

I plan to spend my next big vacations: In Spain and England. I travel as much as possible.

My favorite type of food: Italian. Thai. American. French. Let’s put it this way: I love variety and eating out!