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Credit Union Car Buying Seminars Facilitate Education and Loans

Credit Union Car Buying Seminars Facilitate Education and Loans By Gina Ragusa
Published September 26, 2011
Credit Unions Online
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Nearly everyone dreads the car salesman swagger, trying to determine if a vehicle is a good deal and haggling price. In fact, for some going to the dentist for a root canal sounds like a better option than trying to navigate through the underworld of car shopping. True to form, credit unions know this. Although members typically hit their credit union first for an auto loan because credit unions notoriously have the best rates around, many are also visiting to obtain valuable information and assistance on how to purchase a vehicle. Like mortgage or online banking seminars, auto buying seminars provide the down and dirty information about car buying--the good, bad and ugly.

Credit Union Members Are More Informed When Purchasing a Vehicle

Freedom Credit Union ($490 million, Warminster, PA) holds regular auto buying seminars and Krista Barry, Marketing Coordinator finds that members get a clearer picture of what is involved with car shopping and buying. "Members get to understand the complete process (finance, car values, how to check a used car, back end of the deal, etc.) about purchasing an automobile." She adds that people come ready to learn...and go for the loan. "Some of the attendees have their pre-approved auto draft before attending the seminar," she says. "We will see about 60 to 70% seminar attendees apply for our loans. The seminar also provides the opportunity to talk about other credit union products and services." Cedric Ivy, Marketing Communications Specialist from Consumers Credit Union ($550 million, Waukegan, IL) explains that members have a new sense of confidence after attending one of his credit union's auto buying seminars. "Members who come for the content get a wealth of helpful, easy to digest information," Ivy says. "Our "know before you go" mantra sets the table for the content. We believe every opportunity to interact with members facilitates loans, and we can typically identify some loans that are a direct result of the session." Both Consumers and Freedom hold live, in-house auto buying seminars as part of their overall approach to member education. Ivy says, "We hold this seminar as part of our general member education workshop rotation; perhaps every 18 months to two years." Barry says, that three seminars were held in 2011 and believes that will be the schedule will be the same for 2012. During the Freedom seminars, a Freedom Vehicle Buying Advisor goes over the purchasing process "secrets" for automobiles. "It's a very interactive seminar and members are able to ask questions as the seminar progresses to keep it relevant to the attendees," Barry explains. "John Veneziale (automotive consultant) is always available to help members with their vehicle purchases. At the seminar, he makes himself available to the attendees after the seminar by giving his contact information or makes follow-up calls to check-in with the attendees."

Car Buying Seminars for the Busy Member

IBM Southeast Employees' Federal Credit Union ($856 million, Boca Raton, FL) understands that attending a live seminar may not be feasible for all members. While the credit union is known for hosting a myriad of live seminars, it also provides comprehensive auto buying information through two podcasts and a future webinar online. Laura Hetherington, VP/Lending explains that members can access everything they need to know about how to approach car buying at the credit union's website. "The member has several access points on the site to retrieve car buying information." The credit union works through vendor, AutoAdvisors to deliver two 10 to 12 minute podcasts. "The member can listen from the comfort of their own home and receive tips on how to find the right vehicle," Hetherington says. She adds that when she was searching for a vehicle, she turned to AutoAdvisors for information and assistance. AutoAdvisors offers numerous services including education, assistance with car shopping and even meeting the member at the dealership during the car buying transaction. Additionally, IBM Southeast EFCU members can download a free E-Book, "10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your Next Car." Hetherington says that this book is typically sold in bookstores and through online retailers, but credit union members can download it free of charge. She notes that old fashioned, live seminars still occur for auto buying. "We also host auto buying seminars for our select employee groups on 'what the dealers don't want you to know' about auto buying," Hetherington says.

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