Popular Mortgage wrapped up 2011 with a 7 percent year-over-year growth, closing on 9,773 residential loans worth nearly $1.3 billion, division President Pablo Pérez said Wednesday.
Last year’s results improved upon 2010’s numbers, which reflected 8,554 residential loan closings for a total of close to $1.2 billion.
During a news conference held at Popular Mortgage’s Guaynabo headquarters, Pérez attributed the growth achieved during a year that battered the mortgage industry in general to its strategy of reaching out to consumers, favorable interest rates and the Gov. Luis Fortuño administration’s Housing Stimulus program.
“Considering that we participate in an industry that shrank by nearly $400 million between 2010 and 2011, our year-over-year growth is an important achievement for our work team,” says Pablo. “The key to all of this has been that we’ve always been very proactive reaching out to the public. When nobody else was participating in housing fairs, we were the first ones there.”
He said the government’s Housing Stimulus program benefitted not only Popular Mortgage but also “thousands of families looking to buy a home.”
According to statistics Pérez shared with the media, Popular Mortgage helped 1,472 families to buy a new property with the government’s programs and benefits. Furthermore, the division also closed 3,639 mortgages on existing loans that were fueled by the savings provided by the law that expires in December.
Looking ahead, Pérez said the bank’s goal is to maintain the level of growth it achieved last year, while shifting its emphasis more toward the mortgage refinancing business.
“Last year we placed special emphasis on home sales, and this year we’ll continue on that track but we’ll also be driving refinancing so that customers can take advantage of historic low interest rates and improve their personal finances through lower mortgage payments,” Pérez said.
He said that through the refinancing mechanism, Popular Mortgage will also be able to keep its bad loans at bay.
“Our loss mitigation volumes have increased in recent years, but we hope that too will stabilize as we continue to help customers who are having trouble making their monthly payments,” he said.
Last year, Popular Mortgage completed 10,784 loss mitigation options, offering troubled customers loan modifications, moratoriums and payment plans.
“We present all of those alternatives so that clients can keep their homes,” he said.
Marcial Díaz, first vice president of sales at Popular Mortgage, said the division has seen “significant traffic of customers flowing in during the first two months of this year who are looking to improve their financial situation and reduce their payments.”
“We believe 2012 will be very active in that sense,” he said.
Popular Mortgage rolls out new campaign
As part of its strategy to keep its momentum going, Popular Mortgage unveiled Wednesday its latest advertising campaign, entitled “Eres” (You are), which shows its employees in a different light: dedicating their experience and expertise into what they are passionate about outside the office.
The campaign portrays the experts at Popular Mortgage, in other facets of their personal lives with which many can identify.
“Our colleagues, in addition to being experts in the area of mortgages, are also leaders and experts in other areas that are part of their lives,” says Pablo. “Like they do with the service they offer, they put much effort and dedication into everything they do and that’s the message we want to convey. At Popular Mortgage we have a team of experts who are passionate about what they do.”
The $1 million multimedia effort encompasses television spots, print ads, presence on social networks and billboards, said Mariel Arraiza, first vice president of marketing and business intelligence at Banco Popular, who added that the entire ad campaign featured local artists and talent.