5 Credit Union Car Buying Program Facts & Why They Matter

Computer with Car Buying Service on Screen
(Last Updated On: September 17, 2023)

When a credit union member wants (needs?) a new car, it’s no mystery where they go. Online to car buying platforms. All of which provide their own financing choices. If we ended this article here, you should still be convinced a credit union car buying program is essential.

I see you’re still reading. Ok, then it’s time for the 5 facts, figures, and reasons why you need to have (and promote) the best car buying service for credit unions. Why yes, we do offer one.

1. More Online Shopping in Less Time

Shopping Cart on Laptop Keyboard

In 2019:

2020 accelerated what was already happening:

2021 shows growth in digital willingness:

  • 87% of shoppers researched financing, spending an average of 12 hours, 19 minutes on the whole buying process
  • 76% are open to buying a car completely online
  • And of digital shoppers, their biggest reason for choosing a lender? Trust.

Without a car buying platform, your credit union wasn’t involved. And who does trusted financial services better than you?

2. Early Research Now Includes Financing

At one time, members visited their local credit union branch to apply for an auto loan. This practice was fading long before COVID. 70% of shoppers now consider 2 or more lenders online.

Nearly 80% of these people are visiting 3rd-party sites, each promoting their own financing options. For both auto loans and engaging younger members, it’s a huge (missed?) opportunity.

Car Buying Service Cheat Sheet Tablet Cover

Ensure your Car Buying Service is running at full power and increase conversions by up to 200% with our 5 Step Cheat Sheet!
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3. Loans Leave Long Before the Application

89 days before your member buys a car, do you know they’re in-market?

For nearly 3 months, they’ve visited car buying sites. Each happily gathers their information, suggesting financing, then use this data to follow them with targeted ads. Will they think of their credit union? Maybe. Maybe not.

The only way you’ll know they even bought a car is if you run a refinance campaign. That’s…a bit late.

Serve your members from the beginning with a credit union car buying program that suggests your financing. Then, continue developing the relationship with your protection products to meet their specific goals.

4. Prevent Flipping with a Credit Union Car Buying Program

Man Flipping Over Moon
Different flipping. Same energy.

If nearly all your members start their research online, and more than half apply for financing, shouldn’t it be with your credit union? A well-positioned and promoted credit union car buying program gets in front of members early in the process.

It also provides a better buying experience, with digital-first shoppers being more satisfied (70% versus 77%). This may connect to an assurance of financing before ever stepping foot in a dealership. Of course, who’s to say the dealer won’t try to flip the loan?

If your credit union used our car buying service, dealers aren’t permitted to even bring up financing. They came from your credit union, so that’s your loan, of course! Not all services offer this, so be sure to ask during due diligence.

5. Marketing Is Serving Your Members

Having a car buying service is step one. Actively promoting it to your members is the all-important step two. Your team put all that effort into choosing the best platform; why waste it by not sharing? Besides, helping members save money is your mission.

Looking at client performance data, we can always tell the moment a credit union promotes their car buying service. And often, based on the lift, we can tell how they marketed it:

  • Up 20-40% ongoing? It’s now in the mobile app or on a homepage tile.
  • Up 100% from a typical day? Homepage promotion.
  • Up 300-1000%? A great email just went out.

That also goes the other way. Calling your auto loan generator, ahem, car buying program, a “resource” is a death knell. It sits in a dusty corner of your site, never to be accessed. This is about helping your members; why hide it?

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Discover how your credit union fits into the journey…beyond just the loan. Watch the recording of our Car Buyer’s Journey Webinar.

Auto Lending Is Car Buying

We work closely with every credit union partner to ensure their program is well-positioned for member visibility. If they want to do a marketing campaign, we have the resources to make it simple.

While your goal is booking auto loans, it’s also ensuring members get the best rates, lowest prices on ancillary products, and the guidance to know which makes sense for them.

That all starts by being there for them when they first think, “Hey, we need a new car.”

Image credits: iMac with Car Buying Service by Canvy Mockups from Pexels. Shopping cart on laptop by Preis_King and Michael Bryant-Mode from Pixabay.

Joe Winn - CU Geek

Blogger. Speaker. Futurist. Part-time Jedi.

Dedicated to helping your credit union, large or small, deliver mission-focused financial empowerment to your members. And make a positive impact on your community while you’re at it.