Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: auto loans (page 1 of 2)

Data Security: Car Edition. Really.

Originally published on

When you hear “data security”, what comes to mind? Your laptop? Phone? Internet of Things “smart” oven? (I’d hate to let a hacker know how badly I burnt that casserole)

Anything else? How about your computer on wheels?

Modern cars are rolling supercomputers. They have dozens of systems collecting unique data to make your driving experience safer, more enjoyable, and sometimes more distracting. For example, the traction control computer collects information on road conditions hundreds of times a second. However, it’s probably not a source of identity theft (though what could be learned from its records would surprise you). Nor is the network of proximity sensors to help you navigate tight areas.

Your car does contain a number of personalized systems. Let’s look at the big ones:

GPS: Your car knows where it is at all times, where it has been, the paths you take, and even the speed at which those drives were made.

Bluetooth: When you pair your phone, it does more than share a 4-digit code. To automatically reconnect, the car remembers your phone’s unique ID. This isn’t a huge privacy issue on its own, but today’s cars save far more. To make dialing easier, a lot of systems import your contacts and synchronize your text messages. No big deal, just your entire phone book and call/text history.

HomeLink: Do you have buttons on your mirror or visor? Do they open your gate/garage? Then you have HomeLink. These can even support turning on/off lights, though new smart integrations have made that a bit redundant. Combined with the GPS history, this is the biggest privacy risk in your car. The former tells anyone in the car where your house is located. The latter Opens. Your. Home.

Those are the big three. Others vary by manufacturer and features. Things like a custom entry code (many Ford vehicles still use this feature…do not choose a birthday!) are seen on occasion. App integration is becoming more common, making your phone an advanced car key.

So, what of all these features? I’m a huge fan of integrations which make sense, and I use them often. However, I also know there is a level of security necessary. To add a small degree, I never program my actual home address into the GPS. The “point” is around the entrance to my community, not in my driveway. Do you really need those last 4 turns? Granted, someone could just find my address on the registration, but I’m hoping a potential thief is just too dumb to consider such an option. Why make it easy? Note: My garage opener doesn’t reach from the home “point”.

It’s good to know what these features can reveal while you have the car, but what about when you sell it?  Given the privacy/security risk inherent, I find it almost criminal that an easy “I’m selling my car, delete everything” button is not available in every car. For mine, I’ve had to do the following:

  1. Delete my phone pairing from the car.
  2. Remove the “Home” location in my GPS.
  3. Remove all recent waypoints in the GPS.
  4. Reset the HomeLink buttons.
  5. Cancel/transfer satellite radio service (technically, with an active Radio ID, one can use a phishing strategy to get my personal information from SiriusXM)

You’re right, there is no direct credit union guidance in this post. However, given my recent experience in buying a new car, I felt it necessary enough to share. Be honest, how many cars do you think are traded-in with the prior owner’s home address and garage code?

Help protect your staff and membership by sharing this with everyone! (And along with every booked loan)

Image credit: That’s me, while owning two cars.

One Third of Them Means Half of This?

Originally published on

Keep me honest. I’ve been known to ask for help in finding my sunglasses…while I’m wearing them. Hey, they’re lightweight and comfortable! So if I’m overlooking an important point, please guide me in the right direction. In this situation, I have a nagging feeling the industry is doing just that.

We’re talking auto loans. Or rather, auto loan funding.

If my data sources are correct, credit unions handle 16.7% of auto loans in America(1). Not too shabby. In fact, that’s a lot of loans, a whole bunch of cars, and millions of people receiving rates likely better than from a for-profit bank. Congratulations financial co-ops!

Hold off on swinging the “We’re #1” foam finger for just another minute. A previous post celebrated an announcement from CUNA of credit union penetration. 1 in 3 Americans. 100 million members. So why only 16.7% of auto loans?

Some digging ensued and it didn’t take long for the digital shovel to strike a proverbial wooden box. Upon opening it, I learned there was a leak in the ship.

Credit unions do, in fact, accept auto loan applications for 33% of Americans. However, only around half ever get funded. That’s 50% or 1 in 2 members.

What’s half of 33%? Not too far from 16.7%. Wait a minute, I’ve heard that number before! Isn’t that the total percentage of auto loans credit unions hold in the market? Weird, right?

Could it be that credit unions are receiving all the applications they need, yet, for various reasons, are losing out to other lenders? Sure, you have high underwriting standards, and not everyone qualifies; you don’t need to rationalize to that end. However, there is still a loss. You’re putting effort into underwriting these loan applications; be bothered by losing half of them!

From reducing flipped loans with the convenience of share drafts to the personal touch of a member representative calling on every loan approval, there are credit unions making strides to confront this issue. What are your numbers, and could reducing a portion of the lost half make a difference in your 2015 goals?

Disclosure: My company works with credit unions to help increase booked loan percentages as well as their total auto loan volume. It is in our, and the industry’s, best interest to identify sources of lost income and maximize growth for institutions and their members.

Image credit:×402.jpg

(1) Experian, Q3Y14

Let’s Market Your Competition! Wait, what?

Have you ever walked into a Dunkin Doughnuts to find them selling Krispy Kreme treats?

Probably not. Same reason you’d be hard pressed to find Apple selling Dell computers in their stores, or Toyota marketing Ford trucks.

Why is that? Chances are, you’re reading this blog thinking, “Well, of course they don’t. Those are their competition!”

It’s also possible you walk to your own beat and exclaimed, “Ah, ha! Having an open approach to competitor’s products could be a brilliant way to foster trust and growth in your industry!” Ultimately, only the Macy’s Santa has adopted your approach.

Might that mentality of giving and helpfulness be pervading our credit unions? Oh no, they’re behaving ethically!

It’s not the steadfast dedication to members to which I speak; it’s the willingness to promote their competition. Yes, credit unions nationwide are sending their members to big banks, online merchants, and other businesses. And they call it, “Helpful Resources”!

Allow me to explain. We’ll use auto lending as an example. Many credit unions wish to empower their members by offering links featuring vehicle reviews, trade-in values, and more. Thank you for looking out for me. Like most, I despise over-paying. But there is another side to those links…they make money! In the early days of the internet, sites like NADA,, and Kelley Blue Book were funded by the sale of their print resources, commissions from vehicle sales, and memberships. Nothing the credit union could lose, anyway.

Times have changed. Paper catalogs have transitioned to online databases, and informational sites have morphed into loan generation engines. Take a look for yourself. NADA Guides has their own Finance Center, which ends in offers for financing…not from your credit union. has a financing calculator with offers called RoadLoans. Even Kelley Blue Book has LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank, powering their financing program.

If you link to these sites, you are sending your members to your competition. It is no different than hanging banners for Bank of America mortgages inside your branch. Is that the service you want to provide?

Take a look at your site. Strategic partnerships where you both benefit are valued and should be featured; links where you can only lose need to go!

Disclosure: Our company helps credit unions grow their auto lending.  By following the advice presented above, our own clients may improve results, thereby improving our own success.

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