In this age of smartphones and immediate information, consumers can easily and quickly find dozens of companies that are happy to serve them in just about any capacity. While this is great for consumers, it poses a huge challenge to lenders.
How can lenders rise above the increasingly large pool of competitors to win a borrower’s business? Fortunately, credit unions already offer their members many advantages, and focusing on those existing advantages is the key to winning lending business.
Consider today’s auto loan borrower. Let’s say your prospect is at a dealership, ready to buy. If your credit union hasn’t convinced her that your institution is the best place for her to finance her vehicle, she can secure financing from one of the dealership’s partners within minutes — without even leaving the dealership. To prevent her from doing that, you must make sure she knows that borrowing from your credit union is her best option.
To stand out from other lenders and show members why your institution should be their first choice for a wide range of products and services, make sure your credit union is promoting the following benefits and features.
Interest Rate Savings
We all know money talks. Your credit union likely offers interest rates that beat other lenders by a full percentage point. Be sure to do the math for members and prospective borrowers. On a $35,000 auto loan, securing a 3% versus 4% loan will save a borrower almost $1,000 in interest.
Emphasize your service culture by offering personalized lending services. Stress your credit union’s willingness to work with members on adjustments to terms and payments when unexpected life events occur. Other financial institutions and online lenders may not be as flexible, making it unlikely that a borrower would be offered such options. Finally, as members of a service culture, your employees understand they have a responsibility to offer education, explain loan terms, and make thoughtful and meaningful recommendations for products that will benefit each individual borrower.
Particularly when targeting millennials, emphasize your credit union’s service to its local community. Millennials prefer to work with companies that give back to their communities, with the idea that a company concerned about its community will treat its customers well also. Publicize and share your credit union’s commitment to the community and service work done by credit union employees in order to differentiate yourself from nationwide and online competitors.
One-Stop Financial Shop
Of course, you don’t want your new auto loan borrower to be a one-time customer. To ensure you’re establishing a long-term customer relationship, engage your borrowers by using fun, creative, and innovative ways to spread the word about all the other great products auto loan borrowers can get in a single place — your credit union:
Loan protection products
Vehicle protection products
Checking and savings accounts
Mortgages and home equity loans
Unsecured personal loans
Personal and business insurance
The benefits and personalized service your credit union already offers its members are the keys to standing out in the always-growing crowd of lenders. Make sure your members, borrowers, and prospects see that competitive auto loans are just one reason they should think of your credit union first when in need of financial products and services.
For information on current auto lending trends and ideas for growing your credit union’s auto lending program, download our free ebook, 2018 State of Auto Lending.
Ronni Martinez is Vice President, Specialty Products, at SWBC.