Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU), a $188 million credit union with 36 percent of its portfolio in auto loans, created an innovative program to educate Gen Y about the car buying process. Through a number of interactions at student-run branches in local high schools, the credit union noticed that a number of 16-year-olds on the average of receiving their driver's license were coming to them with questions regarding the process of purchasing a car. Here, there proved to be a gap in education as many of these teenagers failed to grasp the auto buying terms involved in the explanations.
To fill this niche need for auto purchasing education, the credit union held a total of eight seminars with more than 250 students in attendance as a part of National Credit Union Youth Week. Topics included developing a car buying plan by distinguishing needs and wants, vehicle researching, understanding CARFAX reports, questioning the dealer, negotiating pricings and conducting online research. In addition, ACFCU partnered with local auto dealerships that were able to bring in cars to the various schools, allowing students to have hands-on access to the cars and ask dealers questions directly. This not only benefitted the students, who prefer to engage in more interactive learning processes, but also strengthened the already existing relationships between the credit union and the auto dealers.
The goal of the seminars is to empower teens to become more active in the car buying process. Furthermore, it establishes a bond between a young person and the credit union with the hope that when the time comes to purchase a car, or seek out other financial products, that person will return to the credit union. Lastly, for ACFCU, who already has student-run branches in the high school, it provides another opportunity to serve its target or existing members and establish a more meaningful relationship. It’s a "win-win-win" for all parties involved.
To learn more about their process, watch this 5-minute CUtv Short by Nick Connors.