With the sale of new cars experiencing a 25% increase in January, credit unions are gearing up to assist members in a still highly competitive market.
That's the assessment from John Lederer, president/CEO of the $1 billion Credit Union of Texas, who said with the recovery, credit unions are poised to empower their members with advice and assistance better than ever before, the Texas Credit Union League reported.
"The auto market does appear to be rebounding to some degree, but the competition for auto financing has become much more competitive," Lederer said. "As a result, this is a great opportunity with regard to refinancing loans once consumers get to take a careful look at comparative financing. We make ourselves available to explain dealer incentives before the member makes their purchase, but we also work to improve their position if they have financed elsewhere."
Citing data from The Dallas Morning News, the league reported that retail sales of new automobiles across the nation rose 25% in January following an 11% increase in December 2010.
Lederer said Credit Union of Texas' programs, service and insistence on member education allows the cooperative to better compete, nurture existing member relationships and build new ones. It remains to be seen how long manufacturers and dealers can continue to offer big incentives, he noted.
"Looking ahead, there will be opportunities to membership growth that will possibly lie on the deposit and credit card end of the equation as larger institutions continue to alienate their members. All in all, I believe we are still in a slow economic recovery mode but credit unions are prepared to meet the competition."