Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Credit Unions Providing Home Loans

11/21/14 - While home loans were once the responsibility of major financial institutions like banks, the post-recession mortgage loans have slowly but surely been making their way into the realm of the credit unions. Such credit unions have been amassing members, and currently own over 8% of all mortgages, three times as much as were owned before the Great Recession. Lew Sichelman's L.A. Times article goes into how these credit union loans can actually be preferable to those provided by “standard” institutions.

Credit unions, which are member-controlled, provide an alternative to common loan institutions that commonly increase the cost of a loan through miscellaneous fees. Anyone can join a credit union, and their non-profit standing keeps people interested in their loans, especially with our currently troubled housing market. During the recession, while many lenders pulled back and restricted the loans they were willing to grant, credit unions stayed open, making their loans available to those whom they deemed a worthwhile risk.

These lenders are different; they are run by the people. Every member has a say in how the union should be run, and this is a big part of why credit unions have been increasing in success. While mortgage loans were once a minimal area of focus for credit unions, new interest has led to mortgage loans encompassing over 40% of all loans provided by such institutions. The interest rates on credit union loans may be the same as those from other lenders, but a more personal touch of a credit union appears to be one of the factors drawing in new customers. Borrowers, of late, tend to have more faith in them, rather than in the banks and other lenders that once held the vast majority of mortgages and other such loans.

Although they are still relatively new to most, credit unions are gaining ground as they accomplish various goals. The common mortgage loan from a credit union is the normal, 30-year fixed rate, but many of these institutions have been applying innovative new techniques to make these loans more manageable. From ways of scheduling your mortgage so that you finish at a specific time, to loans that reset their interest rates to market level every five years, credit unions have developed ways to make their loans as consumer-friendly as possible. All in all, a standard banking institution may be great, but credit unions might be an option for many potential borrowers to seriously consider.

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