Credit Unions Zero In on Partnerships to Drive Auto Loans

The three simple words, zero percent financing, have complicated the lives of many credit union executives when it comes to securing automobile loans. Credit union loan officers are forced to compete with aggressive manufacturer incentives that lead members to dealer lots. Find out how a partnership between Enterprise Car Sales and one large credit union have allowed them to stay competitive in automobile loans.


Zero percent financing.

These three simple words have complicated the lives of many credit union executives when it comes to securing automobile loans. Traditionally, auto loans make up 40 percent of an average credit union portfolio. Today, protecting (and growing) that part of the business is ''Job 1'' for credit union loan officers forced to compete with aggressive manufacturer incentives that lead members to dealer lots - and F&I officers' desks.

Recently, the world's largest credit union, Navy Federal, made an aggressive move of its own to stay competitive in automobile loans by developing a partnership with Enterprise Car Sales, a division of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, an automotive leader with more than 500,000 vehicles and nearly five decades of industry experience. The partnership gives credit union members direct and online access to Enterprise certified used vehicles nationwide, and guarantees that Navy Federal receives all financing for Enterprise vehicles purchased by members.

Enterprise calls this its ''100 percent promise,'' guaranteeing that when a credit union sends members to Enterprise for a used vehicle purchase, the credit union receives 100 percent of the loans, 100 percent of the time. This boosts not only loan volume but member satisfaction as well, said John Peden, executive vice president of consumer operations at Navy Federal.

''In this competitive environment, we must be aggressive in seeking and expanding partnerships that will help grow our business, while enhancing the goal of providing members easy and affordable access to credit, including auto loans. This program with Enterprise Car Sales empowers us to do that,'' Peden said. ''We are providing our members with convenient access to a wide range of competitively priced, quality certified used vehicles across the country that we know Navy Federal will finance exclusively. That's good business in any environment, but definitely today.''

Navy Federal's 2.2 million members can easily locate Enterprise certified used cars, trucks, SUVs and vans nationwide by calling a toll-free number. They also use a specially designed co-branded Web site to locate vehicles and apply for financing from Navy Federal. All of this happens in real time, allowing members the opportunity to communicate directly with Enterprise representatives and request additional information.

Navy Federal is not alone in recognizing the benefits that come with an Enterprise partnership. Numerous credit unions across the country have come to value the various partnership ''perks'' that help keep car buying opportunities top of mind among members and, thus, increase the likelihood of loan applications, such as:

  • Special one-day, members-only car sale events, where credit union members get to view vehicles in a private setting
  • Exclusive car buying seminars for credit union staff and members
  • Educational talks about vehicle trends
  • Informative articles for credit union membership newsletters.

    ''We are committed to developing creative, tailored programs for our credit union partners that will generate more loans, optimize earnings and strengthen member loyalty,'' said Mary Mahoney, Enterprise's assistant vice president of referral car sales. ''We value our credit union partnerships and look forward to creating new ways to serve their members.''

Enterprise offers more than 60 makes and models of vehicles and guarantees that pricing on all of its vehicles are at or below Kelly Blue Book or NADA retail. Each Enterprise vehicle is rigorously tested by an ASE-certified master technician and includes a 12-month/12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a seven-day/1,000-mile repurchase policy if members have a change of heart. The vehicles are also covered by a one-year roadside assistance program provided by AAA Motor Club.



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March 3, 2003


  • Enterprise won't guarantee their's been a bad deal for our members. Maybe you should report on the other side of it...
  • I have had great experiences with Enterprise.
  • Sounds like a great concept for the Credit Union and for Enterprise.
  • Have worked with entereprise for several years and have done the one day private sales with much success. Look forward to continuted partnerships with them.
  • Good service, good cars, but priced too high. This program would be perfect if cars were priced much nearer wholesale.