Half of today’s home buyers find Realtors through referrals, and most of these consumers want the convenience of a one-stop shopping experience when buying a home.
The opportunity for credit unions: Form alliances with Realtors that you can promote to members so the agents get the home sale and the credit union gets the financing.
That’s the idea behind CU Realty, a company that offers searchable property listings online and a turnkey marketing platform that enables credit unions to maximize home buyer leads and close more loans.
“There’s the perception among consumers that a one-stop shop will save them money,” says Tandy Vincent, CU Realty’s vice president of marketing.
She and CU Realty Chief Operating Officer Tina Powers addressed the 2018 CUNA Lending Council Conference Monday in Anaheim, Calif.
Powers offers a six-step approach for building ties with Realtors:
1. Define your goals. What do you want to achieve by forming a Realtor network? More loans and other member business?
“You also need to think how fast you want to achieve this,” Powers says. “This needs to be part of your entire plan.”
2. Find Realtors. Should you target top producers? New agents? How many Realtors will you need to approach?
“You need a Realtor who fits in the credit union culture,” she says. “You have to look at more than just agents’ sales number. They might not want to change how they do things.”
3. Build relationships. How will you communicate and network with agents? How will you integrate them into your culture? Do you have the right products, and can you process loans quickly? What do you expect from each other?
“The days of wearing a gold Century 21 jacket and knocking on doors are over. You’re building a partnership,” Powers says.
4. Define lead protocols. You want to get business from Realtors, but be careful about promising “you get one, I get one.”
“Check with your legal counsel,” Powers says. “Lenders can’t buy Realtors a cup of coffee—it’s a RESPA violation.”
Decide how you’ll track leads, identify benchmarks you’ll need to monitor, and determine how you’ll gauge member satisfaction. “You want to know Realtors are doing a great job with your members,” she says.
5. Build awareness. How will your members know you have a preferred network, and how will you train employees?
6. Measure results. Determine how you’ll gauge the program’s return on investment, costs involved, and how you’ll measure Realtor performance.
“This is the most important step,” Powers says. “No matter what you decide to do, you need to measure it.”
►Click here for more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNAJennifer, @CUMagazine, @CUNACouncils, and by using the #LendingCouncil hashtag. Learn more about the CUNA Lending Council, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, at cunacouncils.org.