Archive for January, 2011

Save (virtually) nothing with Bank of America’s auto loan

Susan Tompor had a great article in the Detroit Free Press about banks getting back into the auto lending business. She noted that Bank of America was offering a stellar-sounding rate on vehicles:

Bank of America has a low rate of 2.89% in Michigan on new car loans of up to 60 months. The loan has a $200 fee and the borrower must have excellent credit.

Now, that 2.89% “low” rate does sound great. But how does the math work?

Here’s an example. Let’s say we take a plain old car loan, with no money down and no trade-in, for $20,000. Pay Bank of America’s $200 fee and the rate, and you end up with a monthly payment of $383.38. In the end, you’ll pay $21,400 for that new car when the loan is paid off (we’re using our handy auto loan calculator for these numbers).

Now, take that same $20,000 auto loan to American 1, where you pay no fees but you pay a slightly higher interest rate of 3.49% at our low end. That leads to a montly payment of $385.57 – two whole dollars more expensive than BoA’s payment. In the end? You’ll pay $21,200 for that vehicle, which is exactly $200 – or the cost of that BoA fee – less in total.

Isn’t that something?

Tompor quotes a BoA representative who sounds giddy to get back into auto lending:

Doug Melton, direct-to-consumer underwriting manager for Bank of America, said the bank is optimistic about car lending in 2011 and is aiming to offer competitive rates for loans on new and used vehicles and lease buyouts.

“There are a lot of great customers out there looking for new cars, used cars and looking for financing,” he said.

“Competitive” being the operative word. The most you’ll save is $2 a month, no matter how competitive that rate looks compared with ours or anyone else’s.

Isn’t it better to do business with a local institution who charges no fees and is a phone call away when you need service?

Website maintenance for January 22

Just a heads-up: our website will be down for maintenance on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 11 p.m. until midnight. Because of some power settings, there’s a chance our site could be down until 6 a.m. that Sunday morning.

According to the robots who fix these things, it’s all because of some infrastructure growth in Virginia that will affect our data servers. Yay, progress!

Sorry for an inconvenience!

MBP adds ‘copper’ warranty plan for older vehicles

Good news: American 1’s Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP) warranty is adding coverage for vehicles up to 15 years, thanks to the new Copper plan.

This means that vehicles between 10 and 15 years old (which, today, covers vehicles from 1997) can get all the benefits of a quality, top-notch warranty.

The only restrictions on our new Copper MBP plan is the age of the vehicle. That means if your manufacturer’s warranty has run out, or even if you don’t have the vehicle financed with American 1, you can still get warranty protection on your vehicle.

We have two options: a two-year plan and a three-year plan, but even if those run out and your car is younger than 15 years, you can re-up the MBP Copper plan. Check out our MBP brochure to see what the Copper plan covers (it’s quite a bit!).

The same company that covers our other levels of vehicle warranty, Mercury, is launching this Copper coverage, so you know your protection is backed up by a reputable company.

More and more Americans are keeping their vehicles longer, and the older a vehicle the more llikely it will need repairs. That’s what makes this new level of coverage so exciting.

Stop in to any American 1 branch to talk about our new Copper plan for MBP.

Well-represented in Jackson Magazine

Well look at that: not one, but two American 1 board members grace the cover of this month’s Jackson Magazine – their 200th issue.

Both Phil Hoffman (left) and Bishop Ira Combs (back row) have appeared on the Jackson Magazine cover in years passed. For the 200th issue, the Magazine brought back Hoffman, Combs, as well as Jackson Mayor Karen Dunigan and Charlie Aymond, executive director of the Ella Sharp Museum.

Hufffman serves as American 1’s board treasurer. Hoffman is a former Michigan state senator and now runs Hoffman Legislative Consultants. Bishop Combs looks after the Greater Bible Way Temple.

Look for the 200th issue of Jackson Magazine on newsstands throughout town.

Credit unions grow in 2010

Things are looking up for us in the credit union world, according to the Detroit News:

For a second straight year, Michigan credit unions added more than 50,000 members in 2010. That’s nearly three times the 17,000 members added in 2008, then the biggest gain in five years.

Whether it was disgust with high fees, jacked-up interest rates, slashed credit lines or the handing out of billion-dollar bonuses after taking government bailouts, more recession-weary people have decided big banks look too much like Mr. Potter, the greedy banker in Frank Capra’s classic film.

This squares with the reporting from our local MLive.com on businesses turning to credit unions, too.

Not to brag, but we’ve always thought credit unions were a pretty sweet deal.


American 1 Federal Credit Union