Mortgages and More

Theresa Witham, managing editor and publisher at CUES
Theresa Witham Photo
VP/Publications & Publisher

2 minutes

From the editor.

As I was reading our cover story this month, I found myself sympathizing with both the credit unions and members they serve as rates increase.

While I really love my little yellow house, there are days when I would jump at a larger kitchen or another full bath. But with a nice, low mortgage rate, my family­—like many of your members—is in no hurry to move. The article, “Mortgage Market 2019,” dives into several positive developments for credit union mortgage lending, as well as challenges like the rising rate environment that has many members staying put.

Our cover story is part of a larger lending content package that includes several online articles covering auto, business and student lending, plus the often tricky business of staffing loan departments.

In “Getting Smarter With Student Loans,” we explore First Tech Credit Union’s innovative student loan refinance program. This is a wonderful story of how a credit union saw a national crisis and designed a way to help its debt-laden members. It’s a perfect example of the people-helping-people spirit that credit unions are built on.

“First Tech FCU’s Student Loan Refinancing product suite was uniquely designed to help support our members in reaching their life goals,” writes Sandi Papenfuhs, SVP/consumer lending at the $12 billion credit union based in San Jose, California. “Our members are saving an average of $16,000 and reducing close to seven years of student loan payments through refinancing with our products—allowing them more freedom to make the life decisions they want.”  

This month, longtime CUES member Bill Raker, CCE, is retiring as president/CEO of $1.2 billion Firefly Credit Union, Burnsville, Minnesota. He reflected on his 33 years of credit union leadership and shared his perspectives on the changing executive role and the biggest threats credit unions will face in the coming years.

We’d love to hear from more of our members. Whether you are, like Bill, coming to the end of your credit union career, or you’re just starting out or somewhere in the middle, what are the key issues you believe credit unions need to focus on now? Write me at icon

Theresa Witham
Managing Editor/Publisher

Your Thoughts: What are the biggest mortgage opportunities and challenges for your credit union?  Email your answer to

Compass Subscription