Your monthly recap of the most important 

mortgage-related news, perspective, and advice


September 2022

How much are mortgages costing your credit union?

7 minute read

Today, I’ll start with a question:

How much is it costing you to originate a mortgage?

As mortgage demand surged to all-time highs during the pandemic, many credit unions scrambled to build internal mortgage departments. High volume and large margins made funding those investments easy.

Today, the landscape is very different. Rates have doubled from a year ago and refinance business is widely reported down more than 80 percent. Increased competition has all but erased positive margins. Both increased rates and competition have many credit unions struggling to figure out how to keep their mortgage unit healthy.

Let’s take a quick look at the data. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association most recent Quarterly Mortgage Bankers report, the average cost per loan for mortgage lenders has increased by over 20% since Q2 2021, topping out at nearly $11,000 per loan in Q2 of this year. That number is based mostly on large institutions with significantly more scale than any single credit union. The only way credit unions can realistically compete is by working together, which is exactly why Member Advantage Mortgage was created more than a decade ago.

In this month’s edition of our newsletter, we explore the benefits of having a partner like Member Advantage Mortgage, beyond just cost savings, which are significant.

We know that credit unions just want to be able to serve their members best. The question we’d like to answer today is: are internal mortgage teams worth the cost? Answering this question requires you to consider all of the following:

  • Labor cost: It takes specialized and experienced originators, processors, underwriters, and closers to manufacture a mortgage, and these types of people come at a premium price.
  • Compliance risk: There are strict rules at the federal, state, and even local level that are constantly changing and evolving. Failure to comply with the rules can be very expensive and can do irreparable harm to your reputation.
  • Staff training and education: Origination staff must rely on industry subscriptions, conferences, and round-tables to stay up-to-date on the latest product, guideline, and compliance changes, not to mention rapidly changing market conditions.
  • Technology: Delivering the best member experience requires the latest mortgage technology including origination systems, educational websites, online applications, and mortgage servicing software.
  • Single-point-of-Failure: Low scale means more responsibility placed on each employee and makes cross-training nearly impossible. Losing any employee in this scenario often leaves no option but to suspend originations.

Here’s why partnering with a mortgage CUSO offers your members the most and best. We know we’re biased, but hear us out.

The widest breadth of offerings, including custom solutions

A partner like MAM helps you meet your members where they are and find mortgage solutions for them. This helps you serve your full membership and prevents your loyal members from seeking out other financial institutions with broader offerings.

Building out your own offerings means weighing your members’ needs against your organizational capacities and financial constraints.

Further, many of our credit union partners serve unique communities, which means we’re able to underwrite unique options tailored to the lifestyles and goals of their membership.

Ensure your members get full service

When you build your own mortgage department, your team will have natural strengths and weaknesses. This is why it’s not uncommon that credit unions are only able to offer partial mortgage services. With Member Advantage Mortgage as a partner, you get turnkey full service, from originations to processing, underwriting and closing.

Originating mortgages is a complex business that requires seasoned staff with extensive knowledge and experience. Finding talent is challenging, and retaining talent can be even more challenging. The mortgage business is highly cyclical, which means there’s a lot of competition for talent when things are booming and painful staffing cuts when they’re not. For many credit unions there’s simply not enough demand to justify more than 1 or 2 people for most functions, which exposes them to high single-point-of-failure risk.

Scaled to meet your needs

Almost all of our credit union partners experience fluctuations in volume, whether seasonal or related to shifts in the market. When inquiries slow down, downsizing can be painful. We can help you focus less on whether you’re properly staffed, and more on meeting your members’ needs no matter the market.

Want to learn more about what it’s like to partner with a CUSO like Member Advantage Mortgage? Visit us online or give us a call: 704-995-9863.

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Who Is MAM?

Member Advantage Mortgage (MAM) is a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) that helps credit unions increase revenue by offering mortgage solutions to their members.

We achieve this by finding the mortgage solution that is in each individual member’s best financial interest.

What We Do

Since 2006, MAM has offered first and second mortgage origination and fulfillment services to credit unions. We also provide marketing tools (like our Mortgage Payment Calculator) to increase lead generation.


How We Can Help You

We’ll help you improve member satisfaction and deepen member relationships by offering or streamlining your mortgage delivery process. You’ll be able to serve current members so they don’t need to turn to the competition, all while increasing your mortgage revenue and generating non-interest income.

How You Can Learn More

This page goes into greater detail on exactly how we provide support and partner with credit unions.


You can also call Del Smith, our Senior VP of Business Development, to get answers to any questions about partnering with MAM.


[email protected]



This information is solely for credit union and mortgage professionals and should not be distributed or provided to consumers or the general public.

Member Advantage Mortgage LLC (MAM) is a subsidiary of CUSO Development Company (CDC), which is owned and operated by credit unions for the benefit of credit unions and their members. Member Advantage Mortgage, LLC NMLS #1557. Visit for complete licensing information.