“Seneca Federal Savings and Loan Association is not an average mortgage originator but it IS an average community bank,” said Katrina Russo, president-CEO of Seneca Federal Savings and Loan Association.
Sound community bank mortgage lending practices are not the source of problems that have turned the economy on its ear. Rather, the “big” banks who took part in the sub-prime lending with less than qualified applicants is what has contributed to the downturn of the economy.
“It’s not all about making a quick buck,” said Russo. “Mainstream America has to start thinking beyond the all mighty buck and remember what is really at the heart of this nation, which I believe is what all communities bank’s thinking boils down to. The dream of homeownership is a dream we help make happen and it can be done in a conservative manner and still render positive results to many.”
Seneca Federal provides traditional, local home town lending with competitively priced mortgage rates.
“We look to competitors daily, in part, to decide where to price our mortgage rates,” said Tammy Purcell, VP–lending. “We also respond quickly to pre-qualification requests and pride ourselves as local underwriters with timely commitments.”
Seneca Federal has never used credit scores as a basis for loan approval but base loan commitment on actual consumer credit history. This ‘traditional,’ ime-tested practice has worked well for the association, with a foreclosure rate near zero percent.
“A low foreclosure rate sometimes leads people to ask me if we are risky enough with such a low default rate,” said the president, adding that the low default rate has more to do with the rapport they have made with their customers during the underwriting process and less to do with not taking risk.
“Our loans are often tailor-made to our customer’s specific needs and we build a rapport with them from the beginning, indicating that we are on the ‘same side’. We are very thankful when a customer is willing to approach us when they are having difficulty and before the loan is in default and we are able to work with finding a solution to get them through a rough time such as a job loss,” added Purcell.