RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – With three months to go until the 2005 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention, the largest single gathering of auto dealers on the U.S. automotive calendar, CU Direct Lending is gearing up to make sure credit unions’ presence at the show is even more noticed than it was at the 2004 show. The four-day convention which last year drew nearly 30,000 attendees – one out of every three auto dealers – will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2005 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The largest gathering of its kind, dealer attendees are typically general manager and principals – people who CU Direct President/CEO Tony Boutelle describes as “the decision makers.” “Most auto loans today are still being completed at the dealer site,” Boutelle says, citing a J.D. Power study which showed more than 80% of all auto loans are conducted at the dealership. “All the captives will be at the NADA convention, as will any large bank that offers auto financing. That’s why it’s imperative that credit unions have an aggregate presence at the show that’s on par with any other lender.” That aggregate presence Boutelle refers to will be demonstrated once again by the America’s Credit Unions booth that was such a hit – and took many convention attendees by surprise – at the 2004 show. Boutelle unabashingly admits that the 2004 booth “was more than the dealers and other auto lenders expected. The booth was very impressive.” CU Direct developed the America’s Credit Unions booth working with Callahan and Associates and representatives from some of the leading auto lending credit unions in the U.S. If attendees were surprised at the America’s Credit Unions booth at the 2004 NADA convention, they’re sure to be even more impressed with the booth design at the 2005 show. The 2004 booth was 30 feet X 50 feet and one story. The 2005 booth will be 30 feet by 40 feet and will be two-story to give credit union participants sufficient room to meet face-to-face with dealers. It will display the brands of participating credit unions, as well as show a large map indicating the location of participating credit unions. Boutelle said as successful as the America’s Credit Unions booth was at the 2004 convention, CU Direct came away from that event having learned a couple of lessons it plans to implement at the 2005 convention to further heighten awareness among manufacturers and dealerships of the market power of credit unions and their members. “Last year we had to earn our place at the show since it was the first time credit unions exhibited,” Boutelle explained. “The banks and captives got preferential booth space because they’d been at the NADA convention many times before. Now, since we’ve been there before, we’re higher up in the pecking order and got a better booth space location.” The America’s Credit Union booth will be situated in a more central location near a restaurant and will be near “some other big players,” said Boutelle. Another change participating credit unions will notice at the 2005 NADA convention is they’ll be encouraged to make more appointments with dealers and attend more educational events. Boutelle said the America’s Credit Unions booth will still be the central location for credit unions during the event, “but this is a good educational opportunity and we want credit unions to take advantage of it rather than feel they have to stick to the booth,” said Boutelle referring to the variety of educational sessions that will be available to convention attendees. One of the highlights of the 2004 convention was a promotion raffle drawing held by the credit unions for a 2004 Harley Davidson Fat BoyT. Boutelle said at the 2005 show there will be smaller giveaways “to draw dealers to the booth.” Dealers are certain to be impressed with the catered VIP event CU Direct and America’s Credit Unions plan to host the evening of Jan. 30 on the Natchez Steamboat. Approximately 750 dealers are expected to attend the private casino-themed party. “We want dealers to think of credit unions as top of mind for auto lending,” said Boutelle. “Credit unions have great rates, service and technology to provide dealers with all they need to make an auto loan.” -

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