Find your Niche to Create a Better Member Experience

September 16,2022
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As today’s real estate market balances on the whims of low home inventory and changing interest rates, it pays for credit union loan officers to build a niche. A niche is a pursuit in a particular area of home loan financing that’s backed by your passion, skills and knowledge.
 
While finding your sweet spot can take time, consider these reasons:
 
  • You’ll build scale into your home loan pipeline. Focusing on one specific loan type or lending area gives you something to aspire to and excel in.
  • Your marketing will get stronger. When you specifically market your area of interest, online search engines will recognize you as the expert and they’ll be more likely to promote your website when consumers search for related terms. Providing a single point of access to your information/expertise will increase visitors’ likelihood of referencing and sharing.
  • Your expertise is enhanced. When you become more specialized, you’ll attract more members and consumers for assistance. Using your niche, you become an authority and you'll have an easier time relating to members so they'll be more likely to follow your advice.
  • Client referrals won’t be as hard to attract. If you help first-time buyers overcome financial and underwriting obstacles to get into the home they desire, their positive sentiment can spread like wildfire to their family and friends.
  • Helps you stay sharp and competitive. Becoming the go-to person for home improvement loans, for example, you'll likely receive more home improvement loan business than your competitors. What you carve out for yourself will define your personal brand.
 
In addition, consider the types of home loan specialties you can aspire to, including the following:
 
  • Personal Condition, Lifestyle, Situation or Circumstance: Sometimes a member’s employment profile is less important than a life and/or financial experience or situation. The mortgage needs of these consumers can be more delicate. A few examples include first-time buyers, low and moderate-income buyers, those with a history of foreclosure, short-sale or low credit score, newlyweds, divorce, death, empty-nesters or growing families.
  • Categorical Demographics: Member characteristics such as self-employed borrowers and business owners, Veterans, police officers, etc. Each of these employment situations requires special documentation. Knowing what is needed and being able to set proper expectations for the member at the beginning of the loan process results in a better member experience at the end of the day. If you can anticipate the needs, your knowledge will be very beneficial to the member.
  • Loan Products: Position yourself as being an expert with first-time buyers, FHA loans, VA, USDA, Condos, Waterfront properties or down payment assistance programs for their area. Narrow your focus just enough to stick out, but not too much so you shut out potential business.
 
Find your niche market in today’s real estate market will help you streamline the workflow for members and ultimately lead to a better member experience.
by CU Members

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