While the National Association of REALTORS® is strongly opposed to banks entering real estate, it has voted to provide $10MM in startup capital for an Internet-based NAR credit union. One of its focus areas will be providing loans for its members which typically have commission-based incomes that some lenders shy away from. While I personally don’t really care about banks entering real estate and don’t necessarily think that in the long term there will be a shortgage of lenders making loans to Realtors, I think the CU idea is probably a pretty smart move in leveraging NAR’s enormous membership base. If relatively small businesses or organizations such as Bashas’ Grocery Stores (Bashas’ Associates FCU) or Alhambra School District (Alhambra CU) could get enough members to support a credit union, then I think the potential size of an NAR CU is staggering. If even 10-20% of its 1M+ members open an account or take out a loan, it could become a behemoth extremely quickly and probably become a Top 50 credit union nationwide. You may be familiar with some of the largest credit unions in America: San Diego County CU, Alaska USA FCU, Desert Schools FCU (Arizona), BECU (Washington), to name a few of the Top 50. We will see what happens. Internet-based banks have had mixed-success thus far, some like Bank of Internet are moderately successful while NetBank recently was shut down with ING assuming its accounts. I have a feeling that NAR CU could fare better.