CU Direct Seeks 'Holy Grail' With Purchase; Files For Patent on Beacon

LAS VEGAS—Seeking to get to the “Holy Grail” of new membership, CU Direct has made a majority investment in Intuvo, a Scotts Valley, Calif.-based provider of an automated software platform for personalized marketing via email, direct mail and sales force automation.

At the same time, the company has also announced it has filed for a patent on a new loan beacon device.

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Jeff Shood of Intuvo, left, with Tony Boutelle of CU Direct.

Announced during CU Direct’s Drive 15 meeting here today, CEO Tony Boutelle said the goal of the investment in Intuvo is to execute on a vision expressed during its 2014 meeting, when credit unions talked of the “Holy Grail” of indirect lending, which is to turn members who join a credit union through an indirect loan at an auto dealership into full-fledged, multiple-relationship members.

Boutelle said CU Direct has purchased Intuvo in order to address that issue, and is now piloting a program with a credit union aimed at improving those relationships.

CU Direct said that as a result of the agreement, Intuvo’s technology platform will provide a number of “superior market extensions for CU Direct, including dynamic marketing automation tools that will be integrated into the company’s Lending 360 Loan Origination System’s cross-sell engine.”

Jeff Shood, Intuvo’s president and co-founder, told the meeting that the new product it is introducing “allows us to integrate to your consumer LOS, determine immediate cross-sell, and then automate all of the marketing.”

Intuvo said that its client CUs have improved their lending business by up to 30% by automating the analysis of real-time member data and using it to trigger personalized marketing via-email, direct mail, and SalesForce automation.

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Patent On Beacon Device

Meanwhile, CU Direct has also filed for a patent on a loan beacon device. Beacon technology uses low-powered, low-cost transmitters such as Bluetooth that can notify nearby smart devices, most especially phones, of specific information and offers, such as when a person is inside an auto dealership or a store.

The CU Direct device transmits information out to anyone who has that app on their phone, said  Boutelle. “

So we can put this in dealerships, branches, in other merchants to communicate loan offers to your members and let them know they are approved for credit,” said Boutelle, acknowledging the device remains in its early infancy. “It’s not a new technology, but it’s new to the lending space and we filed a patent on Monday for this loan beacon concept. We think it will be down the road something to improve the member experience.”

CU Direct Now Number-Three Lender

Among other announcements made by CU Direct during its Drive 15 Conference at the Cosmopolitan Hotel:

  • CU Direct is the number-three auto lender in the United States, trailing (and not by much) Wells Fargo and Ally Bank. It is the number-one lender in 10 states, and in the top 10 in 10 others. “A rising tide raises all ships; you will have a more efficient and effective network if you get more people in it,” said Boutelle.
  • It now has relationships with 1,060 CUs that represent 41% of all CU members.
  • Over last three years the company has seen 25% year over year growth in CU Direct portfolios. Trailing Wells Fargo and Ally in loans. Now #3, very close to being number one. Wells did 260,000 loans, CUDL 245,000.

“How do we help credit unions make more loans and increase efficiencies? We wake up every day asking ourselves that. And for us the main answer is the member experience,” Boutelle told the meeting. “We are trying to get to ‘Yes’ faster. That’s one thing to take away from this. We still are kind of operating in the Great Recession. We are doing more than 100,000 funded loans per month, but only 8% of those loans are auto-approved. I can’t imagine all of those need manual approval.”

The company’s analysis shows a 67% auto approval funded rate, vs. a 49% manual approval funded rate.

“We have over 1,000 variables in the Lending 360 system, and I’m afraid you’re using them all to say no. So I’m hopeful you can get to Yes a little faster,” Boutelle said.

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Copyright Year: 2019
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