CU Direct to Pay 3-Percent Dividend to Shareholders; Autoland Earnings Beat Forecasts

CU Direct Pays Cash Dividend to Credit Union Shareholders

CU Direct, the nation’s leading provider of lending solutions to the credit union industry, has announced that it will pay a 3-percent cash dividend to its 102 credit union shareholders. This is the ninth consecutive year that the CUSO has paid a dividend to its shareholders.

During 2013, CU Direct signed new agreements with more than 100 credit unions, including Cheney Federal Credit Union, Clackamas Federal Credit Union, KaiPerm Northwest Federal Credit Union, Maps Credit Union, OSU Federal Credit Union and White River Credit Union. At year’s end, 1,072 credit unions — serving 38 million members — were utilizing the CUSO’s lending solutions.

CU Direct credit unions processed 723,000 loans through the company’s CUDL lending platform in 2013, generating a record $16.3 billion in credit union auto loans. The CUSO helped its credit unions increase loan growth by 19 percent in 2013; those figures, if added together, would create the sixth-largest auto lender in the nation.

“We are pleased to once again provide a strong return on investment to our shareholders,” says Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CU Direct. “We continue to deliver innovative lending solutions that help credit unions improve member auto buying and lending experiences, and grow their loan portfolios.”

Established in 1994, CU Direct has helped the credit union industry fund more than $138 billion in loans since it was established in 1994. The CUSO specializes in helping credit unions generate loans, manage risk and provide value to members through a suite of solutions that CUDL, Lending Insights, Lending 360, OnSpot Financing, Vero, and its suite of auto buying products. For more information about CU Direct, visit www.cudirect.com.

Autoland Reports Increases in Profitability,Sales, New Partnerships for 2013

Autoland, Inc. says its earnings rose for the third straight year in 2013 as auto lending contributed to the majority of credit unions’ consumer loan growth. Gross margin, vehicle sales and the CUSO’s auto-loan-to-sale-retention rate all increased, the company reports.

Member confidence in the company’s concierge car buying model helped the CUSO improve vehicle sales by 6 percent and raise its auto-loan-to-vehicle-sale retention rate to a combined 84 percent in 2013, the company says. That drove $103.3 million in auto loans to credit union partners, resulting in an 11.5-percent gross margin that beat company forecasts.

The addition of 11 new credit union partners contributed significantly to increased sales opportunities, the company says.

“Where we excelled last year was in helping our partners compete for direct loans in a market that was extremely competitive,” says Autoland President Jeffry Martin. “Leasing came back in a big way, and buyers had greater access to credit from banks and other finance groups than they’d had in years.”

Martin predicts that the competition for direct loans will continue in 2014, with light-vehicle sales projected to increase 4 percent. “More credit unions are recognizing that the finance opportunity can be protected by making the Autoland benefit available to in-market members,” he says.

“Auto loan growth remains a priority for credit unions,” Martin says, “and we’re preparing to launch service with additional partners in multiple states throughout the year.”

Founded in 1971, Autoland works with more than 200 credit unions nationwide to provide advanced online tools, concierge car-buying services for both new and pre-owned vehicles, a convenient trade-in process, and a commitment to personalized service. The company has sold more than $1.8 billion in vehicles to credit union members in the last decade. For more information, go to www.autoland.com.

Strategic Link is the NWCUA’s wholly-owned service corporation, using the power of aggregation to provide the Association’s member credit unions with exclusive high-quality, competitively-priced products and discounted services. Contact Director of Strategic Partnerships Craig Reed today to find out how Strategic Link can help your credit union save money while meeting its goals in 2014 and beyond: creed@nwcua.org.

Posted in Federal.