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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Fed up with losing members’ auto loans to car dealerships because of their 0% financing offers, 1st Advantage FCU is offering members its own 0% financing deals that gives members the opportunity to have their cake and eat it to. Beginning this month, the $325-million credit union is offering 0% for the first six months of an auto loan, and a low rate of 5.25% for the remaining term of the loan. That means that members can accept a dealership’s rebate offer, plus use 1st Advantage’s 0% financing promotion to further save money. 1st Advantage’s Vice President of Marketing Elyse Pyle said she came up with the idea for the promotion after listening to inquiries from so many of the CU’s nearly 60,000 members about why the CU wasn’t offering its own 0% financing deals to compete with dealers’ offers. In addition, Pyle said the credit union was tired of losing members’ auto loan dollars to the dealerships. As of Dec. 31, 2001, 1st Advantage’s auto loan portfolio was $79,702.600. Twelve months later, it was down to $74,823,099. To qualify to use1st Advantage’s 0% financial offer, the vehicle has to be an untitled 2002 or 2003 model and cost more than $15,000. Here’s how it works: using the credit union’s financing for a $17,000 vehicle, the member first saves $2,000 with the dealer rebate, bringing the amount to be financed to $15,000. Then applying the terms of 1st Advantage’s 0% financing deal, over 48 months the member makes a monthly payment of $348.00. So the total cost of the vehicle financed through 1st Advantage would be $16,174.09. If the member financed the vehicle using the dealer’s 0% financing, the purchase price of the vehicle that would have to be financed would be $17,000. Then applying the dealer’s financing for 48 months, the member’s monthly payment would be $355.00, and the total cost of the vehicle would be $17,000. So 1st Advantage’s 0% financing would save the member $825.91 over the term of the loan. Pyle pointed out that many members elect to double up or pay extra on their loan payments, so they stand to save even more money. At press time, 1st Advantage’s 0% financing offer was only a couple of weeks old, and Pyle said it was too soon to gauge how well the promotion was doing. When it began the promotion, the credit union intended to continue it through the first quarter 2003, but Pyle said 1st Advantage may extend the deadline depending on member interest. -

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