Rethinking Remarketing: A Double Take on Technology

Tapping into the potential of the Internet can not only relieve the burden of auto remarketing, but get you a higher selling price.


As credit unions look at techniques to improve their business, the Internet can play a strategic role in improving traditional methods.  In vehicle remarketing efforts, 29% of credit unions surveyed reported using multiple channels to market vehicles, according to the Callahan & Associates Credit Union Auto Remarketing Report. An effective remarketing program helps limit the time and expenses spent on repossessed autos.  Tapping into the Internet to manage these efforts can help many credit unions break even, or even come out on top. 

According to Jerry Liudahl, vice president of lending at Oregon Community Credit Union ($752 million in Eugene), there are three truths to auto repossessions: 

  1. Repos are seldom worth the balance of the loan.
  2. They do not get more valuable over time.
  3. You will never be completely satisfied with the repo sale price. 

Estimates show that a 65% of the outstanding loan amounts on vehicles are totally lost upon re-sale. 

Vehicle remarketing is not a primary focus for credit unions. It is difficult to dedicate an entire department or even a single employee to manage the process. If you are not already using the Internet for auto remarketing, you may have a system that is very paper driven, dependent on faxing, follow-up calls and heavy filing.  A good first step is to run a historical report over 24 months to view returns.  How much have you received on the loan, based on reported values, like NADA guides?  What does it come out to, eighty percent, 50 percent, possibly less?

Time is an enemy for vehicle remarketing.  Consider how long you are holding onto vehicles before sale.  Estimate how much that is costing you a day.  The Internet can help you achieve a faster turnaround for repossessed vehicles by exposing the product to a larger pool of buyers.  

Shifting Gears
If you are considering ways to improve your vehicle remarketing program, you are already on the path to building a more efficient remarketing system. Transferring from your current system towards a new plan will take time and effort. This is where technology steps in.  Credit unions can consider a number of different options to determine how involved they want to be in online remarketing. 

  • The first option is to look straight ahead, at your computer.  Enhancing your credit union website is a basic step in providing auto buyers a venue for shopping. This effort can go hand-in-hand with a third-party marketing service.
  • Look at other local sites.  Online advertising may be increasing in price, but it is still an affordable way to promote what you have to offer.
  • Photos are imperative online.  Invest in making vehicle images available on your ads.
  • If you are dealing with high volumes, and low return, consider an inventory management program.  Such systems can reduce a lot of traditional manual effort, like paperwork, phone calls, and faxing.   Online systems will track and receive documents, and create faster communication for a faster sale. 

Cruise Control
As you change the course of your remarketing efforts, be proactive as well.  Keep track of potential buyers, values of similar vehicles, and what marketing techniques sell vehicles.  Do your research and price vehicles reasonably.  Choose a pricing standard like NADA guides or Kelley Blue Book. NADA is often used as a lending guide because it allows you to use a VIN number to look up a specific vehicle.  This will keep you from pricing based on loan balance.  Respond to online offers as soon as possible. If you get a bid with a few hundred dollars of your asking price, accept it. And, if your vehicle is not selling, lower the price after a month. 
Auto loans are important for most credit unions, and an effective remarketing system is an important component of the lending program’s success.  Beyond choosing the most appropriate online strategy, the decision to be proactive in vehicle remarketing is an important starting point. And, using viable marketing avenues will get you past the finish line. 




Jan. 22, 2007


  • Jerry is wise to say (and accept) that the sale price will never be what you want--I'll be showing that to my boss!