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Neighbors, First Community Lending Experts Talk Real Estate

Recently, the St. Louis Business Journal gathered several local lending experts to talk about the state of residential real estate. Credit unions were represented by Chris Smith, of Neighbors Credit Union, and Joy Weeks, of First Community Credit Union.

Smith is the mortgage manager for Neighbors Credit Union. He was instrumental in restructuring and expanding the mortgage department in 2013—now the entire mortgage process is completed in house. Weeks is the senior vice president of Lending for First Community. She has worked in retail at the credit union for 20 years, beginning as a teller and breaking into management.

When asked if the residential real estate market has recovered, both Smith and Weeks responded positively.

“Overall, we’re seeing a good stabilization of the market right now for St. Louis,” says Smith. “We’re seeing investors coming in and kind of creating a floor in the pricing in some pockets of the area to kind of help stabilize and support growth.”

Weeks shared that jumbo loans have tripled for First Community and they’re seeing the market shift from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market.

The St. Louis Business Journal also asked why lenders sell their loans and how that impacts consumers.

“We sell our loans to Fannie Mae, but we sell them because we’re trying to manage the interest risk part of it, but we retain the servicing,” says Weeks. “So when our members walk into our doors, their mortgage is still on our books.”

Smith explained that lenders might also sell loans to free up room on their balance sheets, which means there’s more capital for other lending products. He suggested consumers seek out a lender that will continue to service their loans, regardless of if their loans have been sold.

“We also service loans, which is very unfamiliar in the industry,” says Smith. “So that way, you’re taking care of your customer or member from the day you sign the application until they pay off the loan.” 

For the entire article, check out the digital edition. You must have a subscription to read the entire piece.

Caption: Smith and Weeks weigh in on the state of residential real estate in a St. Louis Business Journal piece. Images appeared in the article.