Locally Owned United Community Bank Strengthens Area Communities

Since 1931, United Community Bank has been dedicated to helping countless businesses, farmers, and citizens throughout the Iowa Great Lakes region. From day one, this locally owned community bank has been devoted to serving the needs of their communities and providing their customers with a full range of financial services and unsurpassed customer service.

“Community, in our name, reflects our deep commitment to the communities we serve, as well as the people we are fortunate to call our customers, friends and neighbors,” said UCB’s Vice President of Marketing, Judi Luhrs. “At all of our UCB Offices, we have enjoyed helping generations of customers with multiple needs, especially home ownership.”

Making Homeownership a Reality
UCB has been committed towards improving their local communities and helping them prosper by making the home ownership process simple for their customers. “Owning a home is part of establishing community roots and building financial security,” said Seth Vogel, UCB's Vice President.

The mortgage loan staff at each location helps each buyer navigate the entire process – from determining what is affordable to selecting the proper financing to fit a person’s unique circumstances and budget. The goal is to turn anyone’s dream of homeownership into reality.

“It is an amazing ability to help bring someone’s dreams to life and get them into their own home,” said Kami Eilers, UCB’s Assistant Vice President. “Some people don’t think owning a house is ever a possibility. We will do everything we can to help them see their dream come true, even if it may be delayed for a time.”

From start to finish, the goal of UCB staff is to make the financial buying process as easy as possible. Seth Vogel wants people to realize how owning a home is a good investment and builds equity, with home appreciation and value creation. However, many people don’t understand the process or know where to start and having this trustworthy guidance enables them to get into a house with financial security.

Buying a House
When someone approaches a UCB mortgage team member, the customer will first start the pre-qualified process, which involves a credit check and income verification. If pre-financing for a loan is approved, the bank will then issue a letter to the realtor saying the buyer has completed the initial verification process and is approved for so much purchase value.

“Being pre-qualified makes the process move along so much faster and is easier on everyone,” Vogel shared. “Around here, homes go so fast so being pre-qualified provides a buyer a better chance of getting a home, as sellers are less likely to take an offer from someone who isn’t pre-qualified for financing.”

Once this process has been completed, the mortgage loan staff will carefully explain the different loans available, as well as the current rates. There are different options available, with the secondary market being the most popular for customers. There are also home equity loans or internal financing loans available for construction and rehabilitation.

There are times when a customer may not be ready to purchase a home.  “We work hard and take the time to get to know all of our customers,”  said Vogel.  “When someone is not ready to take the next step, we will work together to put a game plan in place to make home ownership a reality in the near future.”

If there is an issue with bad credit, first the mortgage team will look for errors or fraud. “If credit is an issue, we will review the areas of issue with the customer and then help them identify how to fix those areas. We will work on a game plan and get the areas corrected, so a person can buy a house in the future,” Vogel explained.

Personal Connection in an Uncertain World
Some people are interested in home equity loans because they are in the process of a remodel or want to add value to their home. However, these loans are unique in how they can also be used for several reasons, including paying off debt, credit card financing, recreational vehicle purchases, or remodels.

“We get to know our customers entire financial needs and are available for more than just a home loan, whether it’s home equity, car, farm, or a boat loan,” he explained. “We are unique in that we aren’t just limited to being real estate loan officers. If a customer needs financing, they work with the same person. This is the value of building relationships with your customers.”

This personal connection is valuable in today’s world, as loan approval takes place at UCB – in your local community. Bigger banks often have underwriting decisions being made from New York or elsewhere on the Coast, and these underwriters understanding of the community and region will generally be limited.

“The value of working with your local bank is that your financial needs are taken care of locally, especially at UCB,” Vogel said. “We understand our area, region, and communities.  For instance, our area is unique in that you’ll find million-dollar properties just blocks away from $100,000 properties, and we understand the financing options for both.”

Most of all, both Vogel and Eilers look forward to helping as many people as possible achieve their dream of home ownership.

“When a home is bought, it strengthens our community, and those people then support our local businesses. As they stay and grow here, they contribute more to our communities,” Vogel shared. “This trickle-down effect builds up our area and makes us stronger.”

For more information on the home ownership process, visit unitedcommunitybank.com/ or call any five locations to talk with a UCB mortgage loan officer.