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PHOENIX, Ariz. – Auto lending has always been a strong part of Desert Schools FCU’s loan portfolio, but the CU’s auto lending portfolio got a big boost recently when its new “Loan Direct” auto lending program helped push Desert Schools into the top ranking auto lender spot in the entire state of Arizona. DSFCU funded over $40 million in auto loans in June alone and funded another $50 million in loans in July. That’s more than any other lender – credit union or for-profit – in the state. Desert Schools’ Senior Director of Marketing Jamie Boyer Conklin said the $2 billion CU’s claim to fame is based on information it received from AutoCount USA, an auto research firm acquired by Experian Automotive-a division of Experian-last year and which buys Department of Motor Vehicle information that shows real time information for new and used indirect vehicles sold through dealerships and which have a lien holder on the purchase. The Casselberry,Fla.-based AutoCount offers “The AutoCount Report” that provides dealers and lenders with access to key information on new and used vehicle sales derived from DMV data. Experian spokesperson Renee Fritton said Desert Schools’ number one ranking put it ahead of leading automotive lending competitors such as Wells Fargo Finance, Chase Automotive, GMAC and WFS Financial. Desert Schools’ “Loan Direct” program is available at more than 18- dealerships in Arizona. The program allows any member who goes to a dealership to purchase a vehicle and who identifies themselves as being a member of the CU, to ask that their loan be financed through Desert Schools. The dealership takes the loan application from the applicant, sends it to Desert Schools for verification of membership, and the loan is approved within minutes. In addition, since Desert Schools has a community charter, non-members can join the CU at the dealership and finance their loan through Desert Schools as well. Through the program, Desert Schools says it has gained an average 500 new members a month. The CU has 300,000 members. Indirect lending makes up about a third of Desert Schools’ total loan portfolio with $476,433,554 in outstandings as of July 31, 2005. The CU’s total loan portfolio as of July 31 was $1,644,059,377. -

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