Corporate One FCU in Columbus, Ohio, has partnered with San Francisco-based fintech Roostify in an attempt to provide credit unions and credit union service organizations with a streamlined, digital mortgage platform.

“This partnership aligns perfectly with our strategy to help credit unions succeed in the mobile-digital financial marketplace,” Corporate One President and CEO Lee Butke said in a statement. “As we see the continued growth in mortgage lending intersect with the consumer-driven move toward online/mobile purchasing for all financial products, this platform offers credit unions an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage in mortgage lending."

Moreover, Butke added, this solution "improves the overall mortgage experience, making it more transparent, efficient and collaborative for everyone involved.”

Among other improvements, the platform provides transparency on the current status of the loan application, speeds up loan processing, and reduces or eliminates the time wasted on phone calls and emails to the lender.

Rajesh Bhat, CEO and co-founder of Roostify, said the platform "eliminates most of the headaches" lenders and consumers associate with obtaining a mortgage. "It does this by providing an optimal digital experience to loan officers, borrowers, real estate agents, and third parties, which results in lenders closing more loans in a shortened time frame,” he added.

Keith Riddle, EVP-enterprise solutions development at Corporate One FCU, told Credit Union Journal the genesis of the partnership came in 2014 after discussions between Corporate One and Roostify about the cumbersome, time-consuming nature of applying for mortgage loans.

Keith Riddle, Corporate One FCU
Keith Riddle, EVP-enterprise solutions development, Corporate One FCU

"Roostify developed this platform to make the whole process easier for everyone involved," he said. "With our guidance, they created a system that's optimized for ease-of-use."

This is also Roostify's debut product, he added.

Corporate One FCU and Roostify have already completed a 12-month plus "proof of concept" trial period whereby Superior Financial Solutions LLC, a mortgage-services CUSO of the $685 million Superior Credit Union of Lima, Ohio, tested the platform with some of its credit union members.

“We decided to adopt the Roostify digital mortgage platform because we found using it made the overall mortgage process so much more efficient, helping us complete closings faster,” said Kurt Neeper, SVP at Superior Financial Solutions. Neeper said the product helped Superior Financial realize increased engagement and responsiveness “that greatly improved the overall experience.”

Riddle said that as more fintech firms enter the mortgage space, it is imperative for credit unions to upgrade and elevate their digital product offerings if they hope to compete.

Kurt Neeper, Superior Financial Solutions
Kurt Neeper, SVP, Superior Financial Solutions

Neeper said Roostify has also partnered with JP Morgan Chase on digital self-service mortgage platforms, including e-signature technology for mortgages. The firm is also partnering with USAA to improve the bank’s origination system, he said.

Fewer CUs means a bigger fight for market share

Neeper said that as the number of credit unions continues to decrease, CUs will have a long road ahead of them if they hope to deepen their footprint with this part of the lending market.

But data shows that CUs are gaining market share.

According to CUNA Mutual Group, fixed-rate first mortgage loan balances at credit unions climbed by 2.3% in March 2017. Over the prior 12 months, fixed-rate first mortgage balances rose by 11.7%.

Moreover, Experian reported that credit unions' overall mortgage market share jumped by 7% between the first quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2017, while the share for banks dropped by 4% over that period.

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