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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Since the 1960′s, Enterprise Car Sales has built up pre-owned vehicle provider relationships with more than 800 credit unions around the country with local and community fields-of membership. For the past few years, the company – a division of Enterprise Rent-A-Car – has complemented that effort by expanding its used car provider program with credit unions with national fields-of-membership, and it’s sealed partnerships with some of the largest credit unions in the U.S., including Navy FCU and United Airlines Employees’ CU. Anheuser-Busch Employees CU is the latest CU to designate the Enterprise Rent-A-Car division as its preferred provider of used vehicles. Tim Walsh, corporate vice president of car sales said Enterprise Car Sales is currently talking with 10 to 15 other top credit unions in the U.S. Paula Anderson, marketing and communications manager for the $643-million Anheuser-Busch says the credit union’s game plan is for its national preferred provider program with Enterprise Car Sales to be ready by the beginning of May. ABECU’s relationship with Enterprise Car Sales actually pre-dates its upcoming preferred provider partnership with the company. For the past several years, the credit union has had a local lending agreement with the company for members in the St. Louis-area – ABECU’s used auto loan portfolio is $55.1 million, comprising 40% of the credit union’s total auto loan portfolio. But ABECU has 22 branches throughout the country, and Anderson said it wanted to broaden its indirect lending program so all of the credit union’s 76,000 members could use it. ABECU also has indirect lending relationships with other suppliers such as Credit Union Lending System (CULS) for members in the St. Louis area, and Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL) for its West Coast members. “Our relationship with Enterprise Car Sales will bring a national presence to the table,” said Anderson. “Until now, our members in Colorado have had no access to an indirect lending relationship. Through our partnership with Enterprise Car Sales we’ll be able to tell our members `no matter where you are in the U.S., you can get a used vehicle at a great price, and best of all you can get a loan from your credit union at the Enterprise Car Sales site without making a trip back to the credit union’.” Anderson said Enterprise has locations near all of ABECU’s branches “for the most part.” Deciding it wanted to build its national used auto lending presence was one thing, developing a campaign with Enterprise Car Sales was a collaborative effort between ABECU and Enterprise Car Sales. Anderson said the credit union sat down with Enterprise representatives and laid their requirements on the table. “We told them what our parameters were in order for us to build a national presence. They included running national car sales promotions and building a co-branded Web site with a consistent branding message,” she explained. Enterprise Car Sales, said Anderson, has proven it can satisfy both of those requirements. The company built a co-branded Web site that has the same look and feel of ABECU’s site. By clicking on the link, members will be able to access information such as the nearest location of an Enterprise Car Sales site to them, used car inventory, and lending tools. Enterprise is also designing and producing direct marketing pieces for ABECU as part of their relationship with the credit union. Mailings are being coordinated and funneled through ABECU’s marketing department in its St. Louis office and Enterprise’s corporate office “to make sure the right stuff is going in the right pieces at the right times,” said Anderson. Enterprise Car Sales’ co-branding efforts and marketing campaigns with Anheuser-Busch Employees CU mirrors those the company has with Navy FCU and United Airlines ECU. “Credit unions with a national presence are looking to convey a consistent message and give their members access to a consistent and convenient auto loan processing system for their members throughout the country,” said Mary Mahoney, assistant vice president of Referred Car Sales at Enterprise. “We’re aware of credit unions’ mission to provide exceptional value and service to their members, and we work to support that mission and optimize credit unions’ earnings, boost their loan portfolio, and strengthen their member relationships.” Mahoney stressed that Enterprise Car Sales works with a credit union in a joint effort to find the best way for the CU to communicate with its members and build loans. “It’s a team effort,” she said. “We get direction from the credit union and tailor the marketing materials to meet their needs.” Technology plays an integral part in that effort, Mahoney said, and that includes developing a co-branded Web site a credit union’s members can transparently link to from their CU’s Web site to search for used car, SUV, truck or van information from Enterprise Car Sales, including photographs of vehicles, and then applying for a loan through the credit union. Members can also communicate with Enterprise Car Sales through the Web site for additional information. Enterprise also works closely with credit unions in its Preferred Provider Program in arranging auto “tent” sales at the credit union’s site or an independent facility. Depending on the size of the credit union, Mahoney said these events typically result in 50 to 300 sales, and all the loans stay with the credit union, “The whole idea is that members can come to the sale, test drive a vehicle, kick the tires, get financing from their credit union, and drive away with the vehicle the same day,” she said. Enterprise Car Sales’ vehicles are backed with a 12-month/ 12,000-mile limited warranty, a one-price system, a seven-day repurchase policy, and an “Enterprise Certified” vehicle certification that guarantees each car sold by the company was thoroughly inspected.s Navy FCU was one of the first credit unions with a national field-of-membership that named Enterprise Car Sales as its preferred provider of used vehicles. That was in July 2002. Jerry Turner, manager of Navy’s credit processing branch and the person responsible for overseeing the credit union’s relationship with Enterprise Car Sales said Navy’s members in the market for a used vehicle were left to hoofing it on their own to car dealership sites to check out dealers’ used car inventories. “We have a preferred new car network that includes about 1,000 dealerships throughout the country, but we were looking for a preferred used car network with one company that put our members in touch with various manufacturers’ models, rather than have them deal with a variety of dealers,” said Turner. In looking for a company to have that type of relationship with, Turner said Navy wanted a company that had nationwide locations and had a large presence in areas where the credit union’s membership is located. On top of that, the credit union wanted to be able to trust it was sending members where they could get a good deal on a used vehicle and be treated fairly. Navy does about 8,500 used car loans a month, Turner said. According to the credit union’s Dec. 2002 call report, it had $1.8 billion in its used car portfolio. While most of those sales come through Navy’s call center, the credit union also holds auto tent sales frequently during the year – it ran four events in 2002, one so far in 2003, and it has eight more scheduled for later this year. The events are held in areas where Navy has a concentration of members, and they usually feature anywhere from 600 – 1,000 vehicles. Turner said about a third of the vehicles are usually sold at the events and they’re financed through Navy. Unlike most auto dealerships that are affiliated with various car manufacturers, Mahoney said Enterprise “is not married to any manufacturer.” Enterprise Car Sales, she said, focuses exclusively on credit unions, and has no relationship with national or community banks. “We recognized CUs as partners 40 years ago, and we want to continue to build on them.” -

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