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DENVER – After having a referral relationship with Automotive Avenue for more than six years, Credit Union of the Rockies has officially named the company its exclusive partner to provide its members with vehicle purchasing options. Until last month, Automotive Avenue-a division of Aimbridge-was one of three companies Credit Union of the Rockies had broker relationships with. The other two were Colorado AutoTrek and CU Advantage. Any of the CU’s 6,200 members who were interested in purchasing a vehicle could contact the companies’ buying services for assistance with locating a vehicle with specific features they were looking for. But Credit Union of the Rockies President/CEO Brian Resch said while the credit union wasn’t specifically looking to have an exclusive partnership with any of its auto brokers, “we did want a better way to do auto lending. Using three brokers meant our staff had to be aware of their differences. It also meant we had to manage relationships with three separate companies rather than maintaining one strong relationship. So this made sense for us.” Credit Union of the Rockies has $39 million in assets. Its auto loan portfolio is $15 million and accounts for almost half of the CU’s total loan portfolio. About 5-10% of Credit Union of the Rockies’ members have an auto loan with the CU. Resch said the credit union decided on having an exclusive partnership with Automotive Avenue for several reasons – the company’s office is less than five minutes from the credit union. In addition, as part of Automotive Avenue’s customer service, it pays for the gas of Credit Union of the Rockies members in Frisco where the CU recently opened a branch, who travel to and from the city in the Colorado mountains to test drive or finance a car. Additionally, Automotive Avenue employees will drive a vehicle to members’ workplaces or deliver loan paperwork directly to members, making it easy for them to test-drive vehicles or complete paperwork if they’re purchasing a vehicle. Credit Union of the Rockies also took in to consideration that Automotive Avenues has relationships with more than 200 dealers in Colorado and throughout the U.S. Resch says this allows the company to negotiate better pricing on vehicles which it passes on to Credit Union of the Rockies members. Lastly, said Resch, Automotive Avenues has been very supportive of Credit Union of the Rockies’ community involvement activities. For example, the company provided the credit union with vehicles for the July 4th parade and helped out with lobby displays. Automotive Avenue sells about 4,000 vehicles a year exclusively to credit unions and has annual revenue of $80 million. Resch said the service Credit Union of the Rockies has received from Automotive Avenue over the past six years made the credit union’s decision to have an exclusive partnership with the company a strategic decision. -

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