LAS VEGAS — CU Direct is drawing up plans to enhance its online car shopping portal that is integrated on credit unions’ websites, Ken Potter, senior vice president of dealer and credit union sales, told Auto Finance News during the NADA Show last week.
The portal, which CU Direct is calling the “digital retail platform,” is slated to start piloting within the year, Potter said. He noted that credit unions are leveraging technology to be more aggressive about holding their market share.
In fact, as banks continue to leverage used-car financing to spur higher yields, credit unions are feeling the sting of tighter margins. Banks have grabbed an extra 7.5% of the used-car financing pie, accounting for 37.4% of the market, while credit unions have lost 10.4% to drop down to 26.8%, according to Experian’s Q3 State of the Auto Finance Market report.
“There’s obviously a bunch of companies coming in to provide [consumers] with a platform to shop online, buy the car, and have it delivered to their house,” Potter said. “This [portal] is basically a way for credit unions to play in that space.”
CU Direct’s digital retail platform is intended to provide credit union members a car shopping experience that can start wherever they’d like, whether that is with trade-ins, preapprovals or shopping dealership inventory. CU Direct’s dealer network now totals 15,000.
“Wherever the consumer wants to start, we will then have the other pieces to continue their shopping interest, with the goal of getting consumers comfortable with the information available,” Potter explained. “If you’re a member and you see the dealership you want to buy a car from is under the credit union you trust, the transfer of trust is more comfortable.”
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