As credit unions continue to face strong competition in the automotive
financing arena, they should take a second look at strengthening
a channel they already have: the Internet. Enhancing your online
capabilities and automotive resources and positioning your site
as an effective self-service channel for members will enable you
to better meet member needs and increase the chance that members
will turn to you for their auto loan needs. You'll also be better
positioned to inform members about the pitfalls of ''0%''
financing and help them resist pressure from dealers to use the
dealer's preferred lender.
A recent Callahan & Associates survey of more than 18,000 credit
union members provided feedback on how credit unions could improve
their websites to better meet their members' automotive research
needs. Analysis of the responses yielded a clear picture of what
online members want from their credit unions-a one-stop resource
for their automotive purchase and financing information.
In addition to basic information like rates and types of loans
available, members wanted more details about loan qualification
requirements and other financing options like refinancing or using
other types of loans. Half or more of those surveyed wanted their
credit union to provide information on automotive pricing, negotiating
with dealers, and safety information. And about one-third were interested
in receiving ancillary services such as auto insurance quotes and
mechanical breakdown insurance through their credit union websites.
Once you attract members to your site by offering a range of auto-buying
information, you must also meet members' needs with your online
application in order for your site traffic to result in increased
loan volume. In the Callahan & Associates survey, member feedback
revealed that although only one-fourth of online members had applied
online for their current credit union auto loan, many more could
be convinced to try it if they had better information about the
process. Without entering the online application, can your members
find out these three key pieces of information?
- What information they will need to fill out the form and the
security of entering it online
- How quickly they will get a decision
- How they will receive a check
If this information is not readily available, members are not likely
to try it, particularly if they have any apprehensions about the
process to begin with.