A Lesson from the Dentist Chair

I went to dentist yesterday. I like my dentist, but it’s one of my least favorite things to do – the scraping, scrubbing, bright light, instruments in my mouth. UGH! I just white knuckle the arm rests and wait for it to be over.

Anyway, as I sat there, I could partially hear the conversation of the person in the next cleaning area talking to the dental hygienist. They were talking about her buying a home. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but it was just too easy to hear. There was an important lesson to take from it…..

Continue reading


I think I’ve got a man crush on Quicken Loans. They do some cool stuff. I’m sometimes jealous of the resources they have and singular focus to be a great mortgage lender.

They’re at it again. Quicken Loans ranks highest in customer service for mortgage originators, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. This is the fifth year in a row for them to win. I think this says something about their quest for greatness, but it could be that everyone else is just awful.

I write about Quicken from time to time because they do so much right. Like what?????

Continue reading

What Not Refinancing Can Cost a Member?

The other day the Wall Street Journal published an interesting article entitled “The Steep Cost of Not Refinancing.” There’s lots of memberlicious nuggets here to take away. The entire article can be found here.

The premise of the article is that by not refinancing a mortgage loan when interest rates drop can cost a home owner tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the loan.

The article quotes a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research that states as of the end of 2010 nearly one in five American homeowners had not taken advantage of lower interest rates. And it states that the present day dollars a member foregoes is about $11,000. That’s a lot of money!

Since then, I’m sure many have as rates were entering a low point at that time, but let’s assume that there’s still 20% of Americans who haven’t refinanced. What could that mean for Credit Unions wanting to be memberlicious?


Continue reading

How a Water Softener can help with Mortgage Marketing

About a year or so ago, we decided to turn off our water softener. I don’t remember why. I just know we haven’t used it in a long time. Yesterday, we decided we should turn it back on since we couldn’t remember why we shut it down.

When I turned it back on, it made this long beeping noise. Upon inspection, I realized that I left the salt in it when I shut it down and now the salt had crystallized and become one solid lump. Home improvement & maintenance are not at the top of my skill sets.

So I got a pick and spent an hour breaking up the hardened salt. To occupy my mind, I started thinking about upcoming blog posts and I realized that leaving the salt unattained for a year had a relation to being memberlicious with mortgage loans.

How so you ask? Read on………….


I left the salt in the water softener and did nothing with it for a year. Sometimes Credit Unions do this with marketing for their mortgage programs.

Now that might work fine with credit cards, car loans or checking accounts. Members know we offer those products, but home loans? Despite our growing market share, many members don’t think of their credit union first for a mortgage loan.

And because of the secondary market and long term nature of mortgage loans, we typically don’t do promotional specials like we do on other products.

So are you marketing your mortgage program like I maintain my water softener or are you being memberlicious?

Memberlicious would mean developing a 12 month marketing calendar where each and every month you have a theme and do things related to home loans to build awareness that you can help members buy homes.

Again, this doesn’t need to a rate special or a fee reduction, but needs to be a consistent drum beat that your Credit Union is memberlicious. They don’t have to be big budget or elaborate. Here’s a one month example of what I’ve seen in the past….

March – The start of the traditional home buying season is here. Prepare your members for what they need to do to get ready to buy a home and prepare their finances. Remember, it’s important to get involved early in the home event. Specific marketing includes using web banners, lobby posters, on hold messages, teller signs or name tag toppers and newsletter article.

Marketing mortgages in an ongoing event. It needs to be done regularly to build awareness and help members get ready to buy a home. It’s needs to be built in a way to get to members before they start the home buying process. It can’t be done once a year and that’s it otherwise you may end up wasting your time trying to re-start it like my water softener.

How to Act Superior and Tick People Off

Pre-Reading Warning – this is me on my soapbox……but read on…..

In the memberlicious pursuit of trying to help more members with home ownership, many credit unions are trying to get in front of Realtors more and hiring outside loan originators. I applaud the efforts. This is key to building purchase money business. I often spend time in the blog talking about how to do this and why it’s important.

Now I’m a fan of Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People and many of the traits he suggests are great for working with Realtors (that might be a future blog post), but there’s also a dark underbelly of the sales world.

I call it “How to Act Superior and Tick People Off”. I get a lot of requests of my time from unsolicited vendors & sales people. I understand they have a job to do, but their arrogance ticks me off. They email me or call me out of the blue and expect me to be so appreciative that they’ve graced me with their time.

Here’s what someone must be teaching is sales school to these folks. I suggest you NOT use these approaches in trying to work with Realtors……


Here’s an actual line from a recent email from someone who wanted to meet with me.

To ensure in the successful coordination of both our schedules, I ask that you reply to this email Today and let me know what week works best for you: August 4th, 11th, 18th or 25th? 

Don’t ever assume your schedule is more important than a Realtors. It’s not any more important (though it’s not any less important). Just remember you are asking for something. Be considerate of them. I hit the delete button on this email without responding.


Another common tactic that must be being taught at some online sales school is this….

“I just need twenty minutes of your time.”

If a Realtor gave 20 minutes to every loan originator who wanted to talk with them, how many minutes do you think they’d have left in a week to try and sell a home. That’s like asking “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If you want something from a Realtor perhaps try starting with something they might value.


Another approach is the unannounced show up.

You get a call from the receptionist that says so-and-so is here to see you. They said they don’t have an appointment but just wanted a few minutes of your time. 

I wonder how someone could be more rude. If you do this to a Realtor, again you are saying that your time and your needs are more important than theirs. If I’m not expecting someone at the receptionist calls me, I just let it go to voicemail. Check the voicemail and if it’s an unannounced sales call I ignore it. They will eventually leave.

Perhaps I’m being rude in my responses. But in the business world and the mortgage world, everybody has something to sell or wants something. I get it. We can’t succeed without others help. Others want us to buy stuff so they can succeed. Just be sure to use a memberlicious approach when reaching out to Realtors and don’t act superior and tick them off.