Archive for the 'vehicles' Category

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.

Busy weekend in Jackson

Rose Parade - Follow me

Summer is, typically, a busy season for American 1. We host a bunch of summer community events – and 2010 is no different.

But this weekend is especially busy: we have both our Summer Sales Event on Friday and Saturday and the Rose Parade on Sunday.

Now that’s a crazy weekend.

At the sale, we invited dependable local dealerships to bring 200 of their best used vehicles on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 at the Sears parking lot in Jackson. Just in time to kick off your summer fun season.

The Rose Festival activities start on Saturday, but we’re proud of the Rose Parade on Sunday, June 6 starting at 1 p.m. in downtown Jackson. The parade winds its way down Greenwood Ave. and Fourth St. to Ella Sharp Park, where we kick off summer with the Party in the Park. The whole weekend is a celebration of Jackson, and a neat way to see local businesses and organizations show their creative side with all the floats.

If you’re in town this weekend, join us at both events!

Rebate 2010: birthday present

Cindy Grymko took the rebate

Last year, Cindy Grymko was thinking about her upcoming 50th birthday, and thought a new car would be a great gift.

So she got one. A beefed-up Chrysler 300C, complete with a Hemi motor and “all the horns and whistles,” she says.

“This is an upgrade model,” Cindy says. “I thought, ‘What do I need a Hemi for?’”

Cindy financed her car with Chrysler, but before she made her first payment an American 1 employee at our former Argyle Branch told her about the 50% loan rebate in April. She hadn’t had the car a month yet, but figured, “why not?”

“I told them, ‘Sure, sounds good. What do I have to do?’” Cindy says.

Initially, she had no idea how much she would get back for her interest rebate. She figured maybe $400 or $500, tops, for the interest she was paying on her souped-up Chrysler.

But when the rebate deposit hit her account, she saw the rebate gave her more than double what she thought.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s cool,’” Cindy says. “It’s helped me stay afloat, with the economy and helping the kids.”

Cindy was off work due to knee surgery, and was afraid she might be late on a payment – which would mean she would forfeit the rebate. But she found a way, and ended up being one of the top five rebate recipients last year.

“I would tell anyone to do it,” she says. “It’s like a tax refund, but it helps build your credit.”

Learn more about our 2010 rebate.

It was a dark and stormy car sale

Spring Car Sale - Dave secures the tent

Last weekend’s spring vehicle sale, held April 24 and 25 at Sears in Jackson, was super-successful. We kept $1 million in the community, and almost 100 members were able to finance quality vehicles from six local dealerships.

But then Saturday, the storms hit.

Dave Lewis (above), our ATM specialist, worked with several other employees to secure our tents before the flash thunderstorms hit.

Spring Car Sale - after the storm

We evacuated the tents twice, with employees and shoppers heading into Sears to stay dry (above).

All the action was captured in photos, and you can see them at our Flickr photo gallery.

Thanks to the entire community for supporting the sale. Everyone who financed a vehicle that weekend took advantage of our big loan rebate – plus a trip to our famous cash machine.

See you at our next sale in September!

GAP helps pay off stolen truck

traviscrallgap

Travis Crall of Litchfield took his girlfriend to Detroit to see a historical moment. The Detroit Lions, looking at the first 0-16 record in NFL history, were facing the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field one of the final games of the season.

“We watched them lose, as we figured,” Travis says.

But the Lions weren’t the only ones faced with bad luck that cold December night. After the game, Travis and his girlfriend walked the three blocks back to where they parked, in 10-below weather, only to find Travis’s 2003 Dodge Ram truck had been stolen.

After he filed a claim, Travi’s insurance company only agreed to cover $11,000 of his loan balance, leaving an $8,000 balance.

Luckily, Travis opted for Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) when he financed the truck with American 1. GAP covered the entire remaining amount.

Travis’s up-front cost for GAP? $235.

“For the one-time fee, it’s worth it,” he says. “It’s better than paying a lot if something happens.”

Unfortunately for Travis, that “something” was a stolen vehicle. His Dodge Ram was eventually recovered, missing several of its parts. In the meantime, Travis used the $1,000 GAP Advantage toward a Jeep. And, just in case, he opted for GAP again on his loan.

“Hopefully I don’t need it again, at least in that kind of situation,” Travis says.

GAP is much more affordable than paying the remaining loan balance should that “something” strike again.

“It pays for a little security,” Travis says.

Economy: taking the long view

loans1982

Here’s a little something we came across while cleaning out some old newsletters. It’s an article in our January 1982 newsletter about the Jackson Co-Op Federal Credit Union lending when no one else would.

Sound familiar?

Jackson Co-Op is now American 1, but we find ourselves in a similar situation. When many banks are restricting their lending practices, American 1 is still providing loans to those who need them.

In 1982, prime lending rates were at 16%, compared to 3.25% today. The economy was in a recession then, too.

But even with the economic weirdness, we were lending to our members. Just like today.

Nice to know some things don’t change.


Chrysler added to ‘Invest in America’ program

Good news – Chrysler is joining GM in the “Invest in America” program that offers Midwestern credit unions discounts on new vehicle purchases. American 1 members can use “Credit Union Member Cash” to purchase a discounted Chrysler or Dodge vehicle, says LoveMyCreditUnion.org:

All eligible current and new credit union members in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee can receive up to $1,000 in bonus cash incentives, depending on which model you choose. Plus, the Credit Union Member Cash program can be combined with most current incentives to add to your savings!

The discounts extend through June 30, 2009. Since you have to get financed through a local credit union, you can get pre-approved before you head out to shop.

Head to LoveMyCreditUnion.org for more details.

Introducing a better way: Simple Loan



American 1 is changing the way we do lending.

Imagine picking out a vehicle on a dealership lot anywhere in the country, giving us a call, and driving away in your vehicle – all without stepping foot into an American 1 branch. That’s the idea behind Simple Loan, an exciting new plan to simplify the loan process.

Simple Loan lets you sign one set of loan documents up front, establishing your preferences (we call it “the plan”), and – from then on – closing on a loan without having to work around our branch hours. All the hard work – the papers, the transfers, the payment – is done behind the scenes by us. In fact, once you’ve established your plan, your biggest responsibility will be picking out the vehicle you like.

Simple Loan works like this: you come into a branch and sign some papers. These papers tell us what your lending preferences are, updates your personal information, and lays the groundwork for any loans in the future. Then, when you want to finance a used vehicle or want an American 1 Visa card, you simply give us a call. We verify your plan, check to make sure the application information is correct, work to get it approved, and arrange payment with the dealership (for a vehicle) or send your new Visa card in the mail. Those documents you signed at the beginning make all this convenience possible.

Right now, American 1 is the only credit union in the area that does Simple Loan, or anything like it. But it’s not a new idea. In fact, we’ve taken the best practices of other credit unions – ideas that have worked before – and developed Simple Loan to fit your needs.

The up-front paperwork process, from start to finish, might take a half hour. But from then on, we take care of all the lending details. You tell us what kind of loan you need, and we do all the paperwork behind the scenes.

There are a few exceptions. If you’re buying a vehicle from a private individual, and not a dealer, there is some title work to be done. Refinances are also an example of when you may need to sign some papers. But even in situations where we need your signature, we can get it over the fax machine.

This is an easier way to get a loan. And it works for vehicle loans, signature loans, and Visa cards. Instead of doing a bunch of different paperwork for all those kinds of loans, though, you’ll sign one set of documents. That’s all there is to it.

For the upcoming Fall Used Vehicle Sale, we want as many members signed up for Simple Loan as possible. For one, it will make our car sales much more efficient. The up-front paperwork takes less time than sitting down and financing a vehicle used to take. Second, we’ll have a special station set up at the sale just for Simple Loan members – meaning you’ll be in and out and driving away in minutes.

To help kick off the plan, our branches are staying open later so you can establish your plan. Stop in on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until 7 p.m. at any American 1 location to get started. That way, you can stop in after work if you’re pressed for time.

And please call us (888.213.2848) with any questions you have. We’re really excited about Simple Loan and how much easier it’s going to make closing a loan for our members.

Scooter and moped financing? Yeah, we do that.



Nothing beats back the high price of gas than a vehicle that can get upwards of 70-100 miles per gallon.

Now that fuel prices are what they are, people are considering the moped/scooter (which do you say? I like scooters, just because mopeds are cycles with pedals) as a serious transportation option. A helmet, a few lessons, and you’re off – zipping around town.

Europeans take mopeds very seriously: the United Kingdom offers rural Englanders scooter options for work transportation, while some European brands are so famous and iconic they warrant movie appearances.

American credit unions are getting in on the act, offering special financing for scooters to promote their fuel-economy advantages. And why not? The great fuel mileage, the low cost of insurance, and the affordable price (even gangs!) make a moped an attractive choice. Just make sure you follow your state’s local scooter laws.

Locally, you have options. There are places in Jackson, Chelsea, and Battle Creek that sell motorscooters. I found them using a simple Google search, but there are some motorcycle shops that sell scooters. Financing? We do that, too.

Are you a moped owner? Are you thinking about getting one? Let us know in the comments!



American 1 Federal Credit Union