The credit union's first mortgage borrower was "Law & Order" star Jerry Orbach, who died in 2004. When he got a loan for a West Side brownstone in 1967, he had a role in "The Fantasticks," which became the longest-running off-Broadway show ever.
One credit union loan officer named Paul Cole is a former actor. When making a home loan, Cole doesn't just consider a potential borrower's credit history. He really knows his members:
"When a would-be borrower's main source of income is a play, Cole checks ticket sales, reads reviews and tunes into industry buzz to assess its chances for a continued run."
The story explains why this credit union is so focused on these thespians:
Because it's a credit union, it's a nonprofit owned by its members. Deposits fund the mortgages. It keeps its $35 million mortgage portfolio, rather than reselling the loans to investors, the common practice which contributed to the subprime mortgage mess.
Cole also explains his prudent due-diligence in making mortgage loans:
"We are determined to make our members homeowners, but we're not a charity," he said. "We must also protect our assets."
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