Of course, this survey is totally unscientific, but note that only 15% of respondents said that HE loans are “Not an Option”. And another 15% say they’re “Doing well because we’re one of the few still lending!”
What conclusions can we draw from this?
The national economy is not your local economy – the news is full of gloom and doom, but there are vast variations in the local effects of economic problems. A lot of areas are still pretty much OK, if a little bruised. Also, keep in mind that most news organizations are headquartered in areas that have been hard-hit, and they’re always looking for the saddest, most extreme story.
CU members are not the “general public” – it’s been proven that credit union members are healthier, wealthier, and wiser than average. They’re paying more attention to their money and to life in general. CU members are an exceptional group of people, and they’re better loan risks and are more likely to have sufficient equity in their homes than the people you see on the nightly news. The flip side of this coin is that CU members are the ones most likely to conclude that HE loans are probably not available, and the ones most able to just sit on their hands and “wait and see”. They need to see an opportunity to act.
You have to TELL people you’re different – unless you specifically and clearly say otherwise, people will assume your CU has the same problems making HE loans as the local bank and the banks they see on the nightly news.
CUs have a real difference and a huge advantage – most CUs are still lending, and at bargain rates, but very few are pressing this advantage. As always, people lump CUs in with banks in their minds, but this is a very real difference. For most CUs, this economic downturn is a vast untapped opportunity to grow and gain market share.