Acquiring a mortgage loan with excellent rates really helps your bottom line.Working directly with lenders and brokers to figure out what types of loans are best for you will make the process of buying property much less strenuous.
Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions and offer insight on mortgage loans is Donna LoStocco, president and CEO of First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union.
Lehigh Valley Business: How long has First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union been operating in the region and what are its primary services?
Donna LoStocco: First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1959 to serve employees of Western Electric Allentown. We expanded our charter in the 1980s to serve many more organizations and consumers in our community.
We currently have financial centers in Allentown, Easton, Bethlehem, Fogelsville, Kutztown and Lehighton, and we will open our Palmer Township location (Route 248/33 – 3515 Nazareth Road) in August.
We have the ability to meet the needs of both consumers and small to mid-sized businesses by offering checking, savings, investments, mortgages, home equity, auto loans and credit cards. We also have the latest technology, including online and mobile banking, bill pay and remote check deposit, to allow our members to access their accounts and our financial resources anytime and anywhere.
LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union has encountered throughout its years in business?
LoStocco: When Western Electric Allentown closed, we had the opportunity to change our charter, allowing us to serve more Greater Lehigh Valley companies and organizations along with their employees and members.
One of the biggest challenges is anticipating consumer and business financial needs in our ever-changing technology driven world. To meet these needs, we are expanding our footprint in the Lehigh Valley and redesigning our financial centers with better technology and staffing them with certified financial wellness associates.
We provide relevant and innovative technology to increase our members’ experience by giving them what they need when and where they want it.
LVB: What kinds of mortgage solutions does First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union offer? Does it provide residential, commercial and industrial mortgages? Does it provide these services solely in the Lehigh Valley, or does it expand into other markets?
LoStocco: First Commonwealth has been providing residential mortgages to its members for over 30 years.
We have a full staff of experienced mortgage loan officers to consult with our members and provide them with a wide array of mortgage options to meet their individual needs. We provide conventional mortgages (both fixed and variable rates), jumbo mortgages, construction mortgages, FHA [Federal Housing Administration] mortgages and VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] mortgages.
We service all of our conventional mortgages for properties located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our members know they can contact us directly for answers to any of their loan questions.
Commercial real estate financing, as well as traditional business loans such as term loans and lines of credit, have been among our fastest growing loans. Our experienced business services department has financed everything from small residential investment properties to larger projects such as office buildings, strip malls and industrial buildings, including construction, all within the Greater Lehigh Valley area.
LVB: How does First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union directly stimulate the local economy? How does it get involved with the local community?
LoStocco: We employ approximately 155 people, and as we expand by opening more financial centers, we will bring more jobs and economic growth to the Greater Lehigh Valley area.
In addition, we offer business services to small and medium-sized businesses, providing them capital to help them expand their facilities, add employees and sell more products.
First Commonwealth supports and promotes the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Later this year, we will be establishing a foundation to focus on financial education. We’ll be able to expand the work we currently do with local nonprofits, providing financial support and volunteers.
LVB: What does the future look like for First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union? Does it have plans for growth?
LoStocco: The future has never looked brighter for First Commonwealth. We are extremely strong financially, which is allowing us to invest in new technologies and open new financial centers, in convenient locations where you are already shopping.
Our new financial centers will offer a variety of financial workshops and seminars to help our members thrive, whether they are planning for retirement or buying their first home. By adding interactive transaction machines with live video associates and online appointment scheduling, we are able to expand our hours and dedicate more individual time to our members.
With our first new financial center opening in July, we are looking forward to providing our members and the Lehigh Valley community a more convenient and educational banking experience.