MADISON, Wis. (10/28/13)--Members don't just get an auto loan at SafeAmerica CU--they receive an education on the car-buying process that makes them better consumers, according to an article in Credit Union Front Line Newsletter.
"The car-buying process has become so competitive, so intimidating--even with promises of no haggling--that during or after a sale, members often feel like they've been taken advantage of," says Amrita Prasad, lending manager at the $309 million-asset credit union in Pleasanton, Calif. "We want to walk them through the process, step by step. They feel someone is on their side."
Consider these two recent examples in which loan officers went above and beyond to help members choose a vehicle and loan that fit their budget.
Barbara Reddy, a SafeAmerica employee for 23 years, consulted with a member seeking a new vehicle to accommodate her growing family. The woman acknowledged a lack of confidence in negotiating a favorable price at a dealership.
In handling the preapproval application, Reddy not only gave the member a competitive interest rate but explained the process. She showed the member how to conduct research through the credit union's website, and Reddy obtained the vehicle's invoice price and specifications before the member went to the dealership.
In a letter to the credit union, the member thanked Reddy for her honesty and training.
"She eats, sleeps, and breathes SafeAmerica," Darrell Kazak, vice president of lending, says of Reddy. "No one knows the company better than she does on a consumer lending level.
"She consistently receives thank-you letters, meets goals, and sets a great example for newer staff as a team leader, always providing coaching and assistance. I can't speak highly enough of her."
Meanwhile, Shena Sunsin assisted a member who desperately needed a commuter car after experiencing some life-changing issues. Two banks denied the woman an auto loan due to substandard credit before she applied to SafeAmerica.
After learning the circumstances contributing to the member's credit score, Sunsin structured an auto loan with monthly payments that fit her budget. Sunsin also contacted one of the credit union's preferred dealerships and located a car for the member, who then purchased it.
"She's one of those loan officers who won't stop at the first challenge," Kazak says of Sunsin, an employee for two years. "It's not about meeting a sales goal—it's about being there for the members. She's getting a loyal following, too.
"We're a financial family network--that's what we preach," Kazak continues. "We're a full-service credit union that'll protect our members every step of the way."