LAS VEGAS—Getting to “yes” faster on auto lending decisions is critically important as credit unions enter the world of George Jetson, emphasized Tony Boutelle.
CU Direct’s president and CEO made that point to attendees during the company’s Drive ’17 Conference here as he stressed that the auto lending market is changing as quickly as consumers’ expectations for quicker service.
CU Direct’s online lending solutions are one of the reasons, said Boutelle, that CU Direct credit unions last year surpassed $32 billion in loans, up 18% from 2015.
“Last year, our credit unions generated 5.6 million applications, which is 18,000 applications per day,” said Boutelle. “And through March, our loans are up 16.5%.”
Despite the pace of credit union mergers, the number of CU Direct credit unions has topped 1,060, noted Boutelle.
“We also have 13,754 dealers in our network,” he said. “We are continuing to grow and as we do we are creating more value for our member credit unions.”
As CUToday.info reported, in 2016 CU Direct credit unions, as a group, became the No. 2 ranked lender in the nation in total loans. This year the gap between No. 2 and No. 1 is getting smaller, Boutelle said.
“We have a goal this year to become the No. 1 auto lender in the country,” said Boutelle.
Boutelle pointed to what several analysts have recently stated, that some of the major bank auto lenders are pulling back from subprime borrowers. He said that is one of the reasons CU Direct credit unions may likely take over the top lending spot in the nation.
“A lot of lenders are running away from subprime, and you never did much of that lending,” said Boutelle.
Boutelle noted several ways that CU Direct will continue to serve its member credit unions and guide them into the future. The company has opened a new innovation lab in Irvine, Calif., designed to help “reimagine” the member auto lending and auto shopping experience.
At the meeting CU Direct also announced that Allied Solutions is now partnering with CU Direct subsidiary Vero, which offers aftermarket auto lending product. Pete Hilger, Allied Solutions president and CEO, spoke at the meeting, telling attendees the partnership will help credit unions better protect members and also generate more fee income.
Boutelle closed by emphasizing three areas CU Direct is focused on this year:
- Help member credit unions make more loans and connect them with more member opportunities
- Improve efficiencies
- Provide a better member experience
“The market is changing, heading into the George Jetson world,” said Boutelle. “What that means is we will be there for you in that world. We are focusing taking out the pain points in the lending process, how we can create a better lending experience for you and your members, and help you get to yes faster.”
Boutelle added that CU Direct is currently engaged in pilot programs with Lending Tree and Edmunds.
“You will see more on that in 2017,” he said.