Insert Your Credit Union into the Car Buying Journey

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(Last Updated On: February 16, 2023)

Members who think of their credit union when buying a car often finance with their credit union. It’s about embedding your institution earlier in the decision making process. Be part of their Car Buying Journey from the beginning.

A member’s buying process has 3 phases: Awareness, Consideration, & Decision. For analysis of each step, visit Your Member’s Secret Car Buying Journey, or watch our video to see it all come together.

Spoiler: The essential prerequisite is offering car buying services online. Is it among the best car buying services? Does it insert your credit union offerings, including protection products, into their decision-making process?

Reach your car-curious members at the right time, in the right way, and with the right tools.

Car Buyer's Journey Auto Loan Webinar Header

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

Member Awareness

Members are increasingly turning to online car buying services, and they all have one thing in common: Your credit union financing isn’t mentioned.

Solve that problem by bringing members to your car buying service! Keep promotion consistent; 2% of them are in-market at any given moment. Consider website home page placement, mobile app (online banking) links, and regular emails.

The Awareness stage is three-fold:

  1. Your members become aware they need a new car.
  2. You help them become aware of your car buying service.
  3. You learn they are in-market.

Miss this critical phase, and you’ve lost the game. Connect with members now to help them save time, money, and get the protection they need for their vehicle and loan.

By helping members throughout their entire car-buying process, your credit union will earn trusted adviser status, which leads to greater share of mind and wallet.

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Ensure your Car Buying Service is running at full power and increase conversions by up to 200% with our 5 Step Cheat Sheet!
Let's Do It!


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At least you can find paint colors! What? That too?

When using your credit union’s car buying services online, members can tackle vehicle research and shopping, while also receiving reminders of their credit union’s financing.

Or, they can visit one of those other sites and get easy access to LendingTree loan options. In 2022, your members visited 4.9 sites, on average, during their buying journey.

And if they don’t want to bother, the dealer will happily place them with captive financing at time of purchase.

Which of these paths best serves your credit union and member? It’s your choice.


Cars are chosen. Pricing is negotiated (or guaranteed by your car buying service). Is there a pre-approval? You do know they’re in-market, right? Of course! They used your awesome car buying service and know your protection options.

In 2021, 87% of people researched financing options. By 2022, nearly half (48%) were interested in also finding a vehicle on their lender’s site. That’s your car buying service!

However, members are spending less time shopping around. While in 2021, 70% checked two or more lenders, a year later that was down to 65%. Yet each of them are better prospects, as the willingness to complete more of the buying process online increased sharply (54-68% YoY), with 80% open to buying a car online. Can your sight drafts alone handle this reality?

Plus, dealer F&I departments are eager to sell financing and ancillary products…and succeeding. In 2021, 54% of buyers added ancillary products. A year later, 67% of buyers added an average of 1.6 products. They’re more expensive at the dealer, while you provide the best guidance, right? So does your member know what you offer?

And even when you’re part of the process, does your current car buying service protect your credit union from dealer flipping? (Some can!)

Read how Cause-Marketing Can Drive Millions in Auto Loans (While Creating $$ for Your Favorite Charity)!

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Credit Unions & Car Buying: A Welcome Match

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Fit the pieces together for the bigger picture.

Auto loans are an important part of your credit union portfolio. Earn them as part of your member’s car buying journey, starting with your car buying service. Choose the right one for your credit union, and optimize it to supercharge loan growth.

Watch “Your Member’s Car Buying Journey”, then Subscribe to the Learning Library to continue getting insights like these!

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.