Prepping for Auto Turnaround, CUs Try New Methods
Given the stall in lending activity for many in the industry since the recession, AltaOne Federal Credit Union was expecting to see negative signs in its auto loan portfolio at the end of 2011.
Rich Wendt, assistant vice president of lending at the $539 million credit union in Ridgecrest, Calif., said the goal was to increase auto lending on both the direct and indirect lending sides while boosting yield and enhancing revenue.
“We still have people living from paycheck to paycheck in some cases,” he said. “Delinquency is still a concern and foreclosures throughout the country have not sorted through. I don’t think the public is quite buying into the recovery just yet.”
To counter the country’s economic aftermath, AltaOne’s use of Lenders Protection allowed the credit union to continue to lend and manage risk efficiently, Wendt said. A variety of interest rate promotions helped as well. What made a huge difference in 2008 and 2009 was when competitors scaled back their efforts.
Unlike other parts of the country, some states in the Midwest didn’t collapse as hard under the weight of the recession, she added. In Veridian’s area, the region was insulated from heavy mortgage fallout since much of the locale is surrounded by farmland.
“It’s not like we didn’t see any of it and those affected by it, but we were able to still lend,” Van Wert said. “We’re not putting the credit union in jeopardy when we make these types of loans.”