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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Automotive dealers attending the 2004 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in Las Vegas next year will see a credit union booth for the first time. Credit Union Direct Corp., working with Callahan & Associates and representatives from the leading auto lending credit unions throughout the country have developed a first-of-its-kind America’s Credit Union Booth for the NADA convention to be held Jan. 30-Feb. 3, 2004. The five-day tradeshow event at the Las Vegas Convention Center is considered the automotive industry’s premier event of the year. More than 28,000 people – 41% of whom are dealer principles -from around the U.S are expected to attend the event. “It’s the best thing we can do as an industry together,” said CUDL President/CEO Tony Boutelle. “Participating in this event will put credit unions on the map with the automotive industry and give us boosted presence and exposure in the auto industry, not just among local dealers but with the auto manufacturers and big auto consolidators.” He added that “credit unions are accustomed to talking with the F&I people at dealerships. Now they’ll have the chance to meet with the principles.” Boutelle stressed that the booth “is not a CUDL booth.” It’s an America’s Credit Unions booth that uses the America’s Credit Unions brand and the theme “90 Million Reasons Why,” and it’s intended “to demonstrate the cooperative and aggregated strength of 90 million credit union members, increase the awareness of credit unions among manufacturers and new car franchise dealerships, and develop strong partnerships with automobile dealers across the nation.” The idea for the booth grew out of discussions held earlier this year at a `Summit On Indirect Lending’ that was sponsored by CUDL and Callahan and which was attended by some of the largest CUs in the country. At that summit, discussions focused on the idea that credit unions need more of a national presence among auto dealerships, and not simply local relationships. From that meeting, a 10-person steering committee made up of representatives from some of the leading auto lending CUs in the U.S. was formed to develop the booth idea. The 30′ X 50′ booth will display the brands of credit unions. The interior of the booth will consist of two conference rooms each holding up to four people, so credit unions can meet with dealers privately, and four to six workstations with high-speed Internet access to display CU Web sites, presentations, product demonstrations, and technology. The booth will also display a map listing participating credit unions. “Dealers are very community oriented. But when you’re talking about the auto manufacturers, they’re about ways to maximize profits for the dealers and they try to a certain extent to steer dealers to work with certain financials. If credit unions around the country had a common technology platform inside dealerships that could sort out useful information and if that was coupled with a common brand, that would go a long way towards creating good publicity for credit unions as being good potential auto lenders,” said Boutelle. CUDL has relationships with credit unions in 12 states, but the idea is to convey the message to NADA of credit unions’ geographic diversity and coverage. “We need to show our strength and what we can deliver,” said Boutelle. “The presence of credit unions at the NADA convention puts the idea in manufacturers’ and dealers’ minds that credit unions are on the same scale as the Chases or Bank of America when it comes to auto lending,” he said. In order for a credit union to attend the NADA convention, it has to register through CUDL. The company has already sent invitations out to its top 40-45 lending credit unions, and to an additional 100 credit unions that are not on the CUDL platform but are active auto lenders. In addition, invitations were sent to 40 participants of Callahan’s Trust for Credit Unions. The deadline for registration is Oct. 15, and there are two registration packages each differently priced and including different features. Boutelle stressed that the booth at the NADA conference is not a one time event. “We’ll learn a lot, but this is not just a one time deal,” he said. -

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