Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: car buying

Serving Credit Union Members Best – Auto Loans (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of what became the Unseen Credit Union Competition series. The first part highlighted what members receive in the mail from not-to-your-standards protection services. Did they know you could help them more effectively, at a lower cost?

Then we saw “A Credit Union Member Walks Into a Car Dealership…” This revealed the necessity of positive, mutually-beneficial relationships with car dealers. It also raised the question of what your CU offers alongside that loan. You may know. Do your members?

This post continues right from where we left off, finishing the buying process. We’ll look at how your credit union compares on the “easy scale” for loan closing, protection offerings, funding, and more. Remember, it’s always about getting the member what they really need…easily!

Be Confident! Credit Unions Can Compete.

Women at Table Laughing
What do you mean that’s not you and your dealer partners?

What’s your loan team’s relationship with auto dealers? In the previous post, we saw the range from best buddies to mortal enemies, with everything in-between.

Unless you are able to meet all your lending goals through tent sales, you’re going to need to work with dealers. That doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover!

Explain to your dealer partners how members sent there may receive information about your ancillary services and financing. If the member wants to learn about dealer offerings, that’s their choice.

Some members will just do everything at the dealer. Perfect for your indirect program, if you have one.

Others will want to do it all on their phone before ever visiting the dealer. And stopping at a branch? Fat chance! Thus, how can you help accommodate this scenario? Does your technology allow it?

Credit Unions Can Sell. Really!

It shouldn’t matter how members choose to conduct their car search, financing research, and buying process. You simply need to provide the tools to make it easy.

Talking Through Can and String
An unlikely, though fun, communication medium.

Which leads us right into talking about your products! Ok, maybe not talking, but some form of member interaction, whether chat, clean website/app, or something else. It’s for them as much as for you!

This is where you guide members through what you can offer. Explain why each matters to them (Big Data comes in handy here) and how you are helping reduce their risk, expenses, while preserving peace of mind.

It sounds like selling. Maybe you’re not about selling to members. Then let’s change the word: Helping. Would you be willing to help your members choose what services make the most sense for their situation?

Since you’re not always doing it in-person, yes, that means some pretty awesome site and mobile app design. You can do it!

I was “sold” GAP by my credit union like this:

“Ok, so your loan is approved. Do you want GAP? It can pay the difference between your loan and insurance payout in the event of your vehicle being totaled. It’ll be $$ more per month.”

I declined. Shocked?

I’m Just Browsing

If you’re at a store and someone asks if you need help, what do you say? “No thanks. I’m just browsing.”

In this case, I’m just browsing the ancillary services. If you present them as I expect, ie. selling, I won’t be interested. Yet maybe it’s actually perfect for me!

Ask on Iron Swinging Sign

Presenting your services with a product description and cost isn’t appealing to anyone. It’s about asking the right questions, then offering what makes sense in the right way for that member.

I’m not going into selling here (we’ve talked about that many times in the past). Ok, maybe I am. Again, because it’s so important! Let me repeat: Selling is helping. And you are helping, right?

  • Your car buying service helps save members time and money. Explaining its benefits and how to best take advantage isn’t selling.
  • GAP helps a member avoid thousands in unexpected costs after an insurance settlement. Sharing the exact “GAP curve” that member experiences isn’t selling.
  • VSCs are expensive up-front, but how might a surprise $2000 repair affect your member, their job, family, and financial stability? VSC helps your members keep their car on the road (and reduces repossessions, which are often caused by unaffordable vehicle repairs). HIghlighting this isn’t selling.

Your Member Walked Into A Dealership…

Menu with Food and Dealer Offering
That looks appetizing…

The dealer your member visits will present all of these services. You know they’ll be more expensive, and who knows if they are even the best fit?

But if it’s the first time your member hears about them, that’s a huge opportunity missed for your credit union.

And it’s a disservice to your member.

On the other end, it’s important the credit union recognize the partner status of the dealers. They have the “cool” part of auto loans. Just because you need them doesn’t mean they have to hold all the cards.

Shaking Hands Partners Chalk

Creating a beneficial relationship for all parties means the experience is better for your members (and the credit union, too!).

Then there’s the question of “selling”. There are two extremes. We covered one in the first part: Companies trying to sell your members questionable products they may or may not even need.

The other extreme is not mentioning anything to a member. You probably fall somewhere in the middle, and that’s a great place to start.

Now, it’s up to you to make sure you provide the best everything for a member. And ensure it’s clear and easy for them!

Because isn’t “serving members the best” what your credit union is all about?

Oh No! Millennials Aren’t Doing What We Expected!

The average age of a credit union member is 47. So it stands to reason the industry has a love affair with those of a younger demographic. If only they would talk about it!

Truth be told, a day cannot go by without seeing at least one discussion of Millenials and credit unions. Whether it be embracing technological solutions or offering a streamlined approach to lending, everyone has the answer to connecting with this essential generation.

There were challenges, however. Millenials don’t buy homes (mortgages), they don’t use credit cards, avoid owning cars (auto loans), and have no intention of changing. Like the disappearance of Tamagotchi pets, the needs of a generation had changed. Face it, it’s hopeless to even bother being in the banking industry anymore. We’ll be lucky if we can hold some of their meager savings.

Except all of this turned out to be false. When the average Millenial left school, they walked into a global recession, high unemployment, a banking sector in disarray, Wall Street in free-fall, and continuous threats of government shutdowns. Not an encouraging environment to make a stand!

So, they waited. Putting off moving out and getting new wheels for a solid career path, you can almost call them the Hesitant generation. Sure, adoption of technology, in every form, was rapid, but they also were the first to grow up with the Internet. It was a given they would be comfortable amongst cyberspace. The real world? Not so much.

Until things improved. Like now. Credit is more available and companies are hiring. Growing incomes situated them in up-and-coming urban centers. Big cities, sure, but also the smaller metro areas (like our own award-winning Fort Lauderdale) are experiencing dramatic influxes of young professionals. “Yeah, but in the city, they don’t drive, and they rent condos, so nothing changed.” Except not.

Millenials have grown into the second largest car buying group, behind their parents, the Boomers. You were right, they want the technology, and cool for these people represents efficient and modern. Out of reach of most buyers, the Tesla Model S still stands as the pinnacle of “cool”. No wonder other carmakers are pushing their own plug-ins, electric, and other forward-looking models.

They’re also buying homes. Renting was a necessary evil, and also helpful for a rapidly-shifting work environment. Now, denizens of the Millenial generation are able to “settle down” just a bit, and that comes with buying property.

Credit card usage is down, that’s accurate, but debit cards are embraced wholly. I see this as a financial literacy issue more than anything, which credit unions are ideally suited to address. Also mentioned in a recent post was the activities of CU Student Choice, helping CUs become financiers of student loans.

So this Millenials group…where do credit unions fit? Fund student loans, help them get started with debit cards, for a start. Be there for their new car loans, then help through the first mortgage. By providing time-honored service, coupled with the offerings people today expect (mobile banking, remote check deposit, online loan application, and compatibility with the latest must-haves), any credit union would be setting themselves up for a generation of success!

Sources: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/sns-wp-blm-news-bc-autos-millennials25-20150425-story.html, http://www.cuinsight.com/make-new-friends-reaching-the-younger-demographic.html

Image credit: https://bluesyemre.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/generation-x-y-z.jpg

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