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DENVER – CU Direct Connect, a wholly-owned CUSO owned by 37 Colorado credit unions, has expanded into the leasing business and selected Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA) as its indirect leasing provider. The CUSO said the Colorado exclusive partnership “will benefit credit unions, dealers and members with a safe, competitive and comprehensive leasing product.” “CULA’s commitment to credit union service was very important to us as we continually strive to offer the best products in the marketplace,” says Tami Anderson, Vice President of Business Development. “Our business philosophies are quite similar ~ both companies are dedicated to the credit union and its members.” According to CNW Marketing Research, nationally 20% of all vehicles financed in 2005 were leased. Callahan and Associates estimates credit unions held only 1.06% of all vehicle lease receivables at the end of 2004. Those factors, coupled with the fact says CULA that the market always seems to be payment driven are among the reasons the CUSO decided to expand into leasing. Anything that causes vehicle payments to be elevated such as higher vehicle prices, increasing interest rates or lack of available rebates, can make leasing a more attractive financing option, the CUSO said. Currently, prices and rates are increasing, plus incentives are decreasing, so this makes leasing a popular alternative. CULA says its program entails an “unprecedented” residual value risk model, comprehensive lessor related insurance, extensive credit union staff training, online software to track leases in real-time, and an effective remarketing program. They also perform the tax filings and lease accounting for the credit unions, making the lease portfolio easy to manage and administer. “This is an excellent opportunity for us in Colorado. We have long been known as the leader in the credit union leasing industry and we look forward to the exposure to more than one million credit union members in Colorado,” states Greg Gandolfo, CULA’s Director of Business Development.

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