<p>HOUSTON, Texas – Credit unions that have to turn down auto loan applications from members who are unable to afford loan payments or have damaged credit risk irritating members and losing business. Auto Financial Group, an online provider of residual-based financing products, has come up with a solution that allows these members to be approved for an auto loan and the credit union to keep the members' business. EZ LendT was developed by AFG in partnership with Household Auto Finance. AFG offers credit union members who are turned down for auto loans because of their history of slow payments, bankruptcy, foreclosure, or other issues, access to auto loans through terms and guidelines set by Household Auto Finance. If members fail to pass their credit union's loan guidelines, the member's request is forwarded to AFG. Once the member meets AFG's guidelines, they're approved for 24-72 month contracts, no down payments and 150% advance of invoice. "Typically, a credit union wouldn't have any recourse whenever they turn a member down for an auto loan. But with EZ Lend, the member drives away with their desired vehicle, and the credit union by referring the member to AFG, has provided an additional service to members," said AFG's Richard Epley. He referred to EZ Lend as "a referral loan program." The EZ Lend program also allows the credit union to retain some fee income, based on the value and number of funded loans. The loans though do not remain in the CU's portfolio. AFG was established in 1999. The company is doing business with about a dozen credit unions throughout cities in Texas including Austin, Houston, Dallas, McAllen, San Angelo, Midland and Odessa. In early January, AFG broke outside the borders of Texas and is now doing business nationwide. "The word `subprime' has gotten a bad rap," said Epley, "but it's not necessarily a bad word. It's a way for credit unions to offer their members an additional lending option. They can say to the member, `I'm sorry we can't approve your auto loan application, but I have another solution to offer you.' That way, the member is happy and the credit union has benefited as well." [email protected]</p>

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