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Agent-matching and cash-reward platform Newzip announced Wednesday that it’s signed up another big credit union, the State Employees Credit Union of Maryland (SECU), its fifth credit union partner.

Co-founded by former Keller Williams Realty Director of Innovation Adi Pavlovic, Newzip helps mortgage lenders court homebuyers by offering them discounts when they agree to work with preferred real estate agents — a strategy also being employed by industry giants like Rocket Mortgage, loanDepot and Better.

Newzip has announced three partnership deals since launching its referral service this year. But Pavlovic said Newzip only chooses to highlight certain partnerships via press releases, and that the company has more than 20 lenders on the platform.

In June, Newzip announced a partnership with Apple Federal Credit Union to connect homebuyers and sellers to preferred agents. Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Apple FCU boasts more than 237,000 members and $4.3 billion in assets, according to records maintained by its regulator, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

A month later, Newzip partnered with SouthPoint Financial Services, a Georgia-based mortgage lender offering government-backed and conventional loans in 16 states.

Newzip’s new credit union partner, Linthicum, Maryland-based SECU, serves more than 250,000 members and manages more than $5.3 billion in assets, according to NCUA records.

Bill Atkinson

“Newzip’s concierge platform lines up perfectly with our commitment to providing excellent service and value to our members,” SECU Senior Manager of Mortgage Originations Bill Atkinson said in a statement. “Their expertise and dedicated support give us the confidence that our members will enjoy improved home buying and selling journeys, with tailored support at every single step.”

Newzip will offer cash rewards to SECU members who opt in to the lender’s preferred agent network, in the form of a closing credit equal to 0.5 percent of the sales price if they’re buying a home or 1 percent if they’re selling.

Adi Pavlovic

Pavlovic said integrating Newzip’s platform into SECU’s mortgage process will make it “smoother and more cost-effective for members navigating these demanding market conditions.”

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits the payment of unearned kickbacks or referral fees in exchange for business.

However, RESPA allows payments under cooperative brokerage and referral arrangements or agreements between real estate agents and brokers.

On its website, Newzip assures lenders that its “real estate brokerage-as-a-service solution” is RESPA and SOC 2-compliant, allowing lenders to “build better customer relationships, convert more leads, and offer a more competitive value proposition.”

SOC 2 is a data encryption standard created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Newzip says more than 15,000 real estate agents have joined its networks and that agents and teams that apply must have at least two years of experience, 15 closings in the last 12 months, and 25 or more online reviews.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct that Newzip says more than 20 lenders use the company’s platform. Newzip has announced three partnership deals since launching this year, but does not publicize every partnership.

Get Inman’s Mortgage Brief Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly roundup of all the biggest news in the world of mortgages and closings delivered every Wednesday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Matt Carter

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