Posts Tagged 'financing'

Tips when using SimpleLoan checks


Let’s say you get pre-approved for an auto loan with American 1. You’ve got your amount all set, we’ve cut you a SimpleLoan check, and you have an idea of what kind of vehicle you want.

Now what?

Since we don’t want to send you out without the proper preperation, here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for a vehicle with your SimpleLoan check.

First, do some research on what you want to buy. If you have a vehicle in mind, see what it’s available for in the area. Do you want used? New? Hit the auto classified section of your newspaper to see what’s selling for how much. This kind of information is extremely powerful later in the process.

If you have a trade-in vehicle, do some research to see how much you can get for it. Sites like NADA and Kelly Blue Book aren’t always 100% accurate, so ask around. And check out sites like eBay Motors and Auto Trader to see how much you vehicle is going for in your area.

Negotiate for your vehicle without letting the dealership know you have a SimpleLoan check. You should first negotiate the price of your vehicle with all the options. Once you have a price you’re willing to pay, then you can work on payments and whatever else with us at the credit union.

Pretty soon, the conversation will turn to financing. Tell the dealership you have your financing taken care of. Let them know that you are writing a check, and that you don’t need any help finding financing. The secret is that you’ve already been pre-approved with American 1, and you’re armed with your SimpleLoan check.

Don’t let them know your pre-approval amount. If the dealerships knows that amount, they’re more likely to add extras to drive up the price to your limit. This also gives you walk-away power. Remember – with that SimpleLoan check and a pre-approval amount, you’ve got the negotiating power. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t get the deal you want.

When you know the price, and you’re set to finance, then you can start talking about your trade-in vehicle. By now you’ll know what your trade-in vehicle is worth. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on your trade-in vehicle’s worth to get the maximum value.

Since you’ve settled on the vehicle you want, the price you can afford, the financing is set to go, and you’re getting a decent deal on your trade-in vehicle, you can write your SimpleLoan check right then and there.

For more auto buying tips, visit our Auto Loan Experts page, or browse through other articles here on our blog.

American 1 auto loan experts: here’s the proof

We pride ourselves on being “auto loan experts.” Chances are, if you need a used car, we can get you financed and into a vehicle.

But how can we prove that? Where’s the evidence of our expertise?

It’s provided by the National Credit Union Administration, the FDIC of the credit union world. If you take a look at our 5300 report (an overall report showing how many members we have, how many loans, etc.), you’ll find we have 7,215 used vehicles on our books. We have a few hundred new cars, but we specialize in used auto financing. It’s what we do best.

Now, how many auto loans do all the other credit unions in Jackson County have? Just about that many: 7,187. But that’s combined. Add them up, and all the other credit unions in town have a total of 7,187 used auto loans. We have 7,215.

So if you have an auto loan financed through a credit union in Jackson County, chances are 50% that it’s at American 1 or some other credit union. We have half of all the used auto loans in Jackson County.

Pretty cool, huh?

Some of the other credit unions have mortgages on their books, or they specialize in new vehicle financing. For American 1, though, we’re all about used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Now we have the numbers to prove it.

Learn the secrets of car dealerships

Learn the way of the car salesperson

The world of auto sales is like another planet: so many secrets and plans and methods. Purchasing a vehicle involves patience, stamina, and a bit of self-education.

Thankfully, we can help with the last one.

Over at the Consumerist, you can learn about the “four squares” method of making deals at a car lot, which involves directing your attention away from things like the actual price of the vehicle you’re buying or financing. As with most Consumerist posts, a lot can be learned from the comments section, so be sure to check out the readers’ stories at the end of the article.

One of the posters pointed to Car Buying Tips, an encyclopedia of car dealer trade secrets and tactics. For some good fun, check out the mail the site gets from angry dealers.

The most important lessons I caught were (a) get pre-approved at a credit union to know how much you can/should spend, (b) haggle over the purchase price before anything else (trade-in, monthly payment, options) is talked about, and (c) do your research. A well-informed buyer is the most powerful person on a car lot.

Dave, a reader over at the Get Rich Slowly blog, offers some advice from working at a dealership, too. Here’s a realistic one:

Do not try to bluff or BS anyone in the dealership — they are a lot better at it than you are, and they do it far more often.

Our Member Relations department is happy to answer any questions you have about this stuff. Working with dealers as much as we do, we’ve learned a thing or two. We even have a guy, Dale, in the department that used to sell cars. He has some fun stories to tell.

Fall sale starts tomorrow.

Tomorrow our Fall Used Vehicle Sale kicks off at Sears. These sales are big events for us, and no one does a car sale like American 1.

To prepare, we’ve kicked off our Simple Loan plan. Plus we’re having two chances to win a $500 gas card, for up to $1,000 in gas. Who can’t use that these days?

A few things to keep in mind if you’re heading to the sale:

  • Get pre-approved – it saves a bunch of time when you’re ready to finance
  • Test drive it – just to make sure you like it
  • Trade-ins are welcome – so bring what you have
  • Even if you’re not “in the market,” stop by the sale – we’ve got tons of food and prize giveaways
  • Warm up your hands – you’ll need them for our famous Cash Vault (we bought a new one!)
  • Bring the whole family – we’ll keep the kids entertained
  • Complete your Simple Loan plan – and watch how easy the sale goes when you get there

We’ll see you Friday and Saturday at the sale!

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!

Spring used vehicle sale this weekend.

Roz prepares to do some financing.

Perhaps you’ve heard?

If you’ve stopped into our branches, waited in line at a drive-through, or browsed around our web site, I’m sure you know our spring sale is this Friday and Saturday out at Sears in Jackson.

But here’s another reminder!

Check out our sale page for the full scoop.  Even if you think you’re not looking for a used vehicle, stop by the sale anyway.  Just by showing up you can enter to win our $1,000 gas card drawing.  And be sure to stop by our concession stand and grab a hot dog from me.  I’ll be grilling them up as usual.

Bring the kids, too, because we’ll have activities for them.  Who knows?  You could find yourself test driving that summer vehicle you’ve always wanted.

See you this weekend!

American 1 Federal Credit Union