The Credit Union
Michael Roth of Elevations Credit Union sees the institution as a differentiator in his marketplace.
By Brad Finkelstein
Being a true loan consultant for his clients is very important to Michael Roth and one of the reasons for his uccess in the mortgage origina- tions business.
“Having bought and sold homes myself, I
think it always important to remember what
it feels like on the other side of the desk. All-in-all it’s an emotional process.”
He started out as a title processor, from
there moved into processing than closing
mortgage loans and finally doing loan originations. Roth has been with Elevations Credit
Union in Boulder, Colo., for five years, and
been a loan originator for four of his years
The experience gives him a little bit extra
to bring to his borrowers. Having that background in processing gives him a leg up on
such things as looking at the application and
analyzing income and tax returns much the
same way a back office would.
But it also helps understand the bigger
picture and the things needed to be done to
get the loan from application through to the
It is circumstances that brought Roth to
Elevations in the first place. He had worked in
business development for Countrywide. “As
the market began to falter in 2007, the credit
union was looking to hire processors. And
from there, as the market changed, new opportunities grew. And as I became better and
better at my job I was always the leading candidate for those opportunities,” he said.
Roth did $62 million in 2011, ranking 70th
on the Origination News survey and he originated $88.6 million last year. In getting new
business he competes against other mortgage
originators in the Boulder market.
As he explained, at the end of the loan process the borrowers have to be a member of
credit union, but this not the case when they
In fact, he estimated between 60% and 70%
of his loan applications are from people who
at the start of the process were not members
He gives credit to his processor and his as-
sistant, calling them huge factors to his suc-
“I think it always important to remember what it feels like on the other side of the desk.”
purchase. It was Roth’s best year for purchase
originations since he started and November
was his best month.
And that could be the precursor for his
2013 prediction, because he added that typically November is not big month for purchase
activity. Besides the improving economy, low
prices and low rates, rents are increasing and
that is moving people into being buyers.
A large part of his business comes from his
past clients, who are either coming in for refinancings or new loans or are referring friends
or family members. He also gets some of his
business from local Realtors.
Supporters of credit unions say that because the institutions belong to the members
and not shareholders, their function is to
serve the needs of those members, rather than
make a profit. This allows the credit union to
offer lower rates on loans and they are more
responsive to their members.
Elevations, a state-chartered credit union,
has 11 branches to serve its 96,000 members
in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Adams
counties. Roth notes for its mortgage business, it has in-house underwriting, processing
“Those three elements, along with very
competitive pricing, gives us leg up over our
competition,” he said. The credit union is a
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac seller/servicer.