10 ways to boost loan growth

As the economy heats up, so does competition for loans.

July 19, 2021

In the face of low housing and vehicle inventories, credit unions shared ideas for attracting boosting loan growth and staying a step ahead of the competition during CUNA Lending Council chat session.

Here are 10 ideas participants shared during the session.

1. Involve frontline staff.

Offer monthly and annual incentives for frontline staff to ensure their participation in growing loans. Include incentives for high-quality leads and frontline staff’s attention to detail and follow through.

2. Monitor members’ credit reports.

Some credit unions will contact members when a credit inquiry for an auto loan appears on their credit report.

3. Focus on refinancing.

Credit unions’ low loan rates make refinance programs a popular option. Some participants say they’re currently offering cash-back programs or 90 days with no payment.

4. Promote motorcycle loans.

“We’ve seen members who are more likely to pay their make payments on their Harley loans than on their mortgages,” says one participant.

5. Focus on HELOCs.

With low inventory for both vehicles and housing, some credit unions focus their efforts on home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and related products. Providing preapproval letters is a popular way to market HELOCs.

6. Deepen relationships with indirect members.

Many credit unions have had success offering credit card balance transfers to members obtained through indirect auto loans. Others have dedicated groups of employees who make outbound contact with indirect members.

7. Go green.

Offer loans on energy-efficient products and seek out state-sponsored programs to support this effort.

CUNA Lending Council

8. Serve members in lower credit tiers.

Chat participants say serving members with lower credit scores is an effective way to reach deeper into their communities while serving the needs of the credit union. To address the additional risk, some credit unions participate in lender protection programs. 

In addition, some credit tracking agencies off nontraditional credit scoring tools that consider rent history and utility payments. These tools are especially insightful for members obtaining auto loans for the first time.

9. Offer “toy” loans.

Although the demand varies by geographic region, some credit unions have gained traction with loans for golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, and utility task vehicles. 

Tiny house loans also are popular in areas where tiny house communities have popped up.

10. Follow up on abandoned loan applications.

Abandoned online loan applications are lost opportunities for virtually every credit union. 

Most credit unions have yet to find a way to ease this “pain point” in the member journey, chat participants say.