Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held at Mortgage Origination Office

LONG BEACH, WA – Wauna Credit Union (WCU) officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Mortgage Origination Office (MOO) at 910 Pacific Avenue in Long Beach, Washington on January 18, 2017. The office opened on November 15th, 2016 and has one employee, Jeff Parker, who serves as the Real Estate Relationship Officer.

Long Beach and Wauna CU dignitaries celebrate the opening of the MOO.
(from L to R) Debi Smiley, WCU Chief Marketing Officer, Monica Lauber WCU VP Mortgage, Steven Linhart, Long Beach City Councilor and Mayor Pro-tem, Jeff Parker, WCU Real Estate Relationship Officer, Robert Blumberg, WCU CEO and President, Natalie Hanson, Long Beach City Councilor, McKenzie Wilson, WCU Real Estate Loan Officer, Paige Tischer, WCU Real Estate Loan Officer

The new office provides local, affordable Real Estate services to the Credit Union’s growing membership in Pacific County. All residents, businesses, and organizations throughout Pacific County are eligible for membership with Wauna Credit Union.

A new ATM machine was installed in December, 2016 at the MOO and is now fully operational. It is a CO-OP network ATM, which offers surcharge-free ATM access nationwide to participating credit union members.

The ATM machine is slated to become an Interactive Teller Machine (ITM) in mid, June of 2017. ITM’s are interactive, with a screen that connects to a Virtual Member Service Specialist person in the WCU Communications Center. The Communication Center Specialists can answer questions and assist members with their transactions.

WCU CEO and President Robert Blumberg talked about the new ITM at the Ribbon Cutting and explained, “This branch office is the branch of the future using a smaller footprint with more technology.” WCU embraces technology, offering online and mobile banking to all its members.

 

Meet Monica Lauber Vice President of Mortgage

Wauna has many talented and amazing people who work for us, including Monica Lauber who recently was promoted to the Vice President of our Mortgage Department. The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with Monica to talk about her time here, and find out more about what she does, and what motivates her.

How long have you been at Wauna? I’ve been at Wauna for 13 incredible years. I started in the Warrenton Branch as an MCR and moved over to the Lending Department in 2005.

What is your new position at WCU? I am the now the VP of Mortgage. I’ve been managing the Mortgage department since 2013, and have seen us grow to continue to meet the needs of our members.

What do you like most about your new job? There are so many things I like love about my job. I have an amazing team that I have built over the years. Most of which have been promoted from within. We all believe in Wauna’s mission and vision statements and strive to deliver positive experiences to our members every day. I look forward to continuing to build on that success for the department and the credit union as a whole. We are growing more and more every day!

What do you think makes Wauna Credit Union special? Our Leadership Team and Board of Directors listen to the needs of our members and the communities we serve. They allow me to create and structure products unlike a bank or mortgage broker. The mortgage industry changes every day,

Monica poses with her team at the Wauna CU Mortgage Origination Office groundbreaking last August. Cookies from Pink Poppy Bakery.

and I strive to be ahead of the game for the benefit of our membership. We are not for profit and we truly care about our membership and their financial well being.

What is your favorite memory of working with a member? You saved the best for last. However that’s a very tough question! I have had the pleasure of working in all of our branches over the years and I continue to travel them weekly.

There have been so many memories that I have gained over the years.

I’ve helped our members from buying their first home and then worked with them again to remodel that home to meet their growing needs. I look at each interaction with our members and strive for them to choose us for all their financial needs, not just for a mortgage..

We live by Wauna’s mission statement Wauna Credit Union will be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.  It is important for us to live by those words, because that gives us lots more membership memories. It’s what makes me love what I do, every day!

PRESS: Wauna CU Mortgage Department Featured in Coast River Business Journal

McKenzie-in-CRBJ

Faces Of Lending

McKenzie Wilson, Loan officer, Wauna Credit Union, Warrenton:

“I’ve been here since 2012. In August of 2015, I started doing the real estate financing.”

Monica Lauber, Assistant vice president of mortgage, Wauna Credit Union:

“I started at Wauna 12 years ago in the Warrenton branch and then moved into the loan department over in Astoria. Then made my way up to Saint Helens. Right now I’m the assistant vice president of the mortgage department. I oversee the staff at all the branches.”

What misconceptions exist about financing for a first home?

“A lot of younger people coming in think that the process — that they can’t do it. That it’s a super hard process to buy a house. I think that’s the misconception — that people think it’s impossible to buy a house sometimes. It’s really not, especially working with the credit union. We’re giving the guidance to get to that point, we’re not just saying ‘no’ and sending you back.”

How has lending evolved?

“I’ve definitely seen a change. I’ve been doing it since 2004, I went through the crisis, people rebuilding their credit. The best thing right now is we’re seeing people starting to regain equity in their homes, which is allowing them to improve their current housing situation.”

What advice would give a first-time borrower?

“Come prepared with a budget. And not more so a “this is a house I want to buy.” Think more toward, is that monthly payment going to fit into your budget. If fixes come about, am I going to be able to afford these fixes? I think that’s the biggest thing, just having all that in mind.”

What’s the typical down payment?

“We can do as little as little as three percent. Typically it’s about three to five percent. With more first-time homebuyers we don’t see a lot in the way of down payment money because there are programs that offer 100 percent financing. But we encourage it, the more they put down the better their rate is going to be.”

On best preparation, what do you take into account?

“We want to make sure that they’re credit worthy. We want to make sure that they’re aware of monthly costs and closing costs.”

What’s the sales frequency compared to last year?

“Our borrowers definitely have to be more on their game. They have to have a pre-approval in hand. Since homes are selling so quickly, those borrowers that have worked hard to prepare themselves with us are the ones making the offer, and it’s accepted because they know they have all their ducks in a row.”

Typical time a house is on the market?

“They’re definitely selling faster. Being prepared is huge.”

How does it compare to 10 years ago?

“Rates are extremely low right now.”

“Oh gosh, we were around 6-7 percent.”

Is there a typical mortgage rate?

“It varies depending on the program they’re doing. You have government program in the low 3-percent range, then you’ve got your conventionals that are higher 3’s — still great compared to what it’s been in years’ past.”

What’s the sales frequency compared to last year?

“Our borrowers definitely have to be more on their game. They have to have a pre-approval in hand. Since homes are selling so quickly, those borrowers that have worked hard to prepare themselves with us are the ones making the offer, and it’s accepted because they know they have all their ducks in a row.”

 

 

When to Consider Refinancing a Loan?

refi home laon blogThis article is courtesy of our friends at NerdWallet.

If you’re making payments on a mortgage or personal loan, you might be wondering whether it’s worthwhile to refinance. Refinancing, or replacing your loan with a new one with different terms, is a big move that requires some homework. Here are some important things to consider.

Define your goal

People refinance for many reasons. You might be interested in lowering the monthly payments to gain breathing room in your budget. Or your goal could be to pay less in total over the life of the loan. Some consumers refinance to replace a variable-rate loan with a fixed-rate one. Some nonprofit credit unions, like Wauna Credit Union, offer loans and mortgages to their members at attractive interest rates.

Homeowners may do a cash-out refinancing, getting a larger loan and taking some money out, in order to consolidate other loans or pay for home improvements. Others might refinance a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan to a conventional loan to save money on mortgage insurance. And some refinance for personal reasons, like adding a spouse to a mortgage or settling a divorce.

Check your credit

Your credit score is an indicator of how likely you are to pay back a loan, and lenders use it to determine how much they’ll charge you to borrow. Younger borrowers often don’t have long credit histories, and they end up paying higher rates as a result; a recent NerdWallet study found that millennials have the lowest average credit score of all age groups. But if you’ve had a loan for a year or more and have been making timely payments, it could be that your credit score has gone up enough to let you qualify for a lower-rate loan.

You can get a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. That will allow you to correct inaccuracies that can hurt your credit score. Then, purchase your credit score from the credit reporting agencies for a small fee to see where you stand. Some credit card companies show a credit score on your monthly statement.

Add up any fees

When deciding whether to refi, factor in any fees and closing costs. The cost to refinance a personal loan may be minimal, but if you’ve obtained a mortgage in the past, you know that home loans can be expensive. Application fees, appraisal fees, legal fees and other closing costs could add up to 3 percent of the loan amount or more. And if your loan agreement has prepayment penalties, that could make a refi less attractive.

Refinancing can be smart option, whether your goal is to lower your monthly payments, save on the overall cost of borrowing or lock in a fixed interest rate. As always, it’s important to do your research to make sure that you’re getting a good deal.

Jeanne Lee, NerdWallet

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