Navigating Mortgage Growth in Uncertain Times: Insights from James White at ACUMA Annual 2023 

The mortgage industry, like many others, is in a state of flux as it grapples with rising interest rates and evolving customer demands. At this year’s ACUMA Annual conference in Maryland, Total Expert’s General Manager of Banking James White had the opportunity to connect with mortgage leaders from credit unions across the U.S. He took the stage with Wendy Dawson from Coastal Credit Union for a special session that explored how data and relationships can drive mortgage growth, then set up shop at the Total Expert booth to talk with conference attendees about the state of the industry and strategies for tackling the challenges we all share. 

Here are James’ top takeaways from ACUMA Annual 2023: 

Rate forecast variability 

One of the prominent themes discussed at the conference was the unpredictability of interest rates. Mortgage volume is declining as rates continue to rise, but what remains uncertain is when this trend will reverse. Some experts suggest that rates may drop in as little as six months, while others predict it could take up to 18-24 months. This uncertainty poses a significant challenge for industry professionals, making it difficult to plan for the future. 

Diverse performance of institutions 

It’s evident that different financial institutions are experiencing varying levels of success during this period. Some are thriving despite the challenges, while others are facing a slowdown. This divergence often hinges on the institution’s culture and its current definition of success. Factors like Loan to Deposit Ratios, the demand for home equity, and product design all play pivotal roles in determining an institution’s performance in this dynamic landscape. 

Every opportunity is precious 

With mortgage volume on the decline, every opportunity carries more significant value than in years past. In a market characterized by scarcity, making the most of each potential deal becomes even more vital. Mortgage professionals need to be diligent in their efforts and ensure they are not missing out on any potential leads. 

Technology and data utilization 

In the digital age, technology plays a crucial role in streamlining processes and providing invaluable insights. Mortgage lenders need a platform that can leverage advanced analytics and data to help identify potential opportunities, optimize their operations, and offer more personalized service. As mortgage volume declines, utilizing technology to improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience is vital if you hope to strike a balance between growth and retention. 

Creative financing options like HFA loans 

When tried and true methods aren’t enough, it’s time to explore creative financing options, such as loans backed by Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs). HFA loans often come with unique benefits and down payment assistance programs, making homeownership more accessible for specific borrower profiles. By offering these types of loans, lenders can expand their client base and generate more business, especially by considering their member base to see if they qualify. 


ACUMA Annual provided a platform for mortgage professionals to gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities currently shaping the industry. James’ takeaways underscored the importance of adaptability, data-driven decision-making, and creative financing options in navigating the complexities of the current mortgage landscape. As the industry continues to evolve, staying informed and open to innovation will be essential for mortgage professionals aiming to thrive in these uncertain times.

Connect with the Total Expert team to discuss how data can supercharge your growth and learn more about the power of Total Expert Customer Intelligence