TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tempe Schools Credit Union recently wrapped up its western theme auto promotion that the credit union said was its most successful promotion of 2008.
The promotion call "WANTED" provided members and nonmembers the opportunity to move their auto loans to Tempe Schools and receive a two-percentage-point discount off their current rate, $100 cash when the loan is closed and no payments for 60 days. The promotion was offered from July 7 to Sept. 1. In the 45 days of business, Tempe Schools reported that they took in 90 new auto loans resulting in $1.75 million in new auto loans and that 15% of those new loans were also to new members.
"With inflation leaving fewer dollars in people's pockets we wanted to take a comprehensive approach to lowering payments," said Margaret Hunnicutt president/CEO. "We had done the gas card promotion previously and thought that a cash payment would be better along with a lower interest rate and payment deferral."
Employees took part in the promotion by dressing up on Friday's in cowboy and western gear and wearing sheriff badges during the week.
"I was quite surprised at the current popularity of this new promotion," said David Rindone director of marketing. "I think we took in almost 30 applications in the first 48 hours and the ink had barely dried on our POP material. I think our timing was great as people were looking to streamline their budgets."
Rindone said that the credit union received positive feedback from members who took advantage of the promotion. The feedback varied he said depending on the member's needs. Some members liked being able to defer payment for 60 days in order to give themselves a chance to get back on their feet, while others enjoyed getting the cash back and others liked being able to take the two points off their rate that could add up over several years.
Rindone said that the credit union employees were very excited about the results of the promotion and said that being able to dress up and wear the sheriff badges helped initiate conversation on the teller line.
When developing the promotion, Hunnicutt said that they looked at the local community and what other credit union and financial institutions were doing. She said while some institutions were offering a 2% cash back to give money back to members rather than auto dealers, Hunnicutt said that they had to take into consideration their indirect lending program.
"We didn't want to burn bridges with the auto dealers and interfere with our indirect lending program."
After the Sept. 1 deadline, Rindone said that they still have 60 days to finance loans that are on the books so that the $1.75 million reported in new auto loans may even increase over the next 30 to 40 days. He said that whether they will reach $2 million is a goal they will be watching. Rindone also said that due to the promotion's success the credit union may launch it again next summer.
"Credit unions are about people helping people, and in this case I think not only did we raise our loan portfolio, but we helped a lot of members and new members along the way," Rindone said.
The Golden 1 CU Offers Magic Rewards
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Golden 1 Credit Union is offering its members a magical auto loan rewards program.
The program, called AutoMagic, was implemented at the credit union this year to encourage members to continue to get their auto loans through The Golden 1.
Members with auto loans currently at the credit union can enroll in the program and earn points that can be used to reduce the rate on their next auto loan with The Golden 1.
"We wanted to reward members that have their auto loans with us and make sure that they come back to us for the next loan," said Teresa Halleck president/CEO of The Golden 1.
Members earn 500 points for enrolling in the program and can earn another 500 points by maintaining an automatic auto loan payment and 100 points each month for making their auto loan payments on time. Points can also be earned by purchasing other products to go with their auto loan, such as mechanical breakdown insurance, guaranteed asset protection, credit life insurance and credit disability insurance. In order to receive an APR reduction of 25 basis points on their next auto loan, members need to earn 3,000 points. To get a 50 basis point reduction, members need to earn 6,000 points.
"The program helps deepen member relations," Halleck said. "Our members love it. What's not to like about it? It's free and they can use it to get a better rate."
Halleck said that lending at The Golden 1 has been down over the past year but that AutoMagic program was not created as a response.
"AutoMagic was developed before auto lending started to go down, it's not a promotion, it's a long-term initiative. People get our low loan rate to begin with and then get to lower it for their next loan."
The Golden 1 offers a 4.89% rate on new auto loans and a 5.09% rate on a used auto loan.
NAFCU Data Shows Rise in Sales
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Vehicle sales data for the month of August, from NAFCU, showed a possible lift in the vehicle market slump.
Total vehicle sales rose in August to 13.7 million annualized units from 12.5 million annualized units in July. NAFCU Staff Economist Katrin O'Connor said that this improvement was higher than expected and was boosted by declining gas prices and General Motor's employee-pricing incentive program. O'Connor said that these two factors also were responsible for a rise in the sales of light trucks.
Light truck sales rose from 5.7 million annualized units in July to 7.0 million units in August. However, car sales fell in from 6.9 million annualized units in July to 6.7 million annualized units in August.
Despite the lift in total sales this past month, over the past 12 months sales were down by 15.5% from last year.
For all big three domestic vehicle manufacturers year-over-year sales fell in August. Toyota and Honda also saw a decrease of year-over-year sales in August, but on a smaller scale than the domestic vehicle manufacturers. Nissan was the only one of the big three Japanese vehicle manufacturers that saw in an increase in year-over-year sales.
All of the six biggest automakers, with the exception of Ford, reported a monthly increase in their sales numbers, with GM posting the largest gain.
O'Connor said that while the increase in August may be seen as a first sign the vehicle market slump is bottoming out there are still significant challenges. The reduction in credit and leasing availability continues to threaten vehicle sales as well as the weak conditions in the labor and housing markets and the expected decline in consumer spending during the last months of this year.
Looking ahead, O'Connor said that NAFCU expects vehicle sales to slow down from 16.1 million units in 2007 to fewer than 15 million units this year.