Posts Tagged 'loan'

Why credit life/disability is good for everyone

With the Great Recession, there has been a wave of financial industry regulations affecting everyone from small banks to giant investment firms – and credit unions like American 1. The Credit CARD Act, the opt-in regulations on overdraft protection, and now a scary-looking form that wants to scare you from opting out of credit life insurance on your loans.

Credit life works like this: if you die, your loan gets paid off. That’s it. Your family doesn’t have to come up with the payments. Nothing gets taken to court. It saves a giant hassle on your family’s end – and on our, the lender’s, end since we’re still getting paid. Win-win, right?

Credit disability works in a similar way, except if you get sick or injured, your loan payments are made while you’re off work. Accidents happen all the time, and so does sickness. None of it is expected. Disability coverage helps protect you from the unexpected.

We’ve gathered up our members’ best stories on insurance products and sharing them with the review board before this thing becomes law. We’re also urging them to reconsider this law because of its unintended consequences. You can read it for yourself.

The fact is, credit disability has helped a ton of American 1 members. They have peace of mind knowing that, if the worst happens, they don’t have to worry about their loan.

Here’s the thing: no member or member’s family who benefitted from credit life or disability protection ever regretted their decision. It’s not like a family member dies, the loan gets paid off, and the survivors think, “Gosh, why did Uncle Joe get that silly insurance?”

Or a member gets sick and says, “Man, why did I opt to have my loan paid for during this difficult time?” That doesn’t happen. Not ever.

No, these products equal peace of mind. It’s best to have fewer things to worry about when a loved one dies, gets injured, or becomes ill. And no one likes to think about it, but we’re all responsible adults here. Family members die. Family members get sick and have to take time off work. What counts is that we’re ready when the unfortunate time comes.

There’s no sense in scaring your away from valuable protection like credit life and disability. And for us, it helps all our members because we’re not trying to collect on past-due debts. Products like credit life and disability help to keep costs and rates down.

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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.

Auto Loan Experts: July gas card winner

jamessjuly09

Last month, we offered to give away 90 days worth of gas to one lucky member who financed a vehicle with American 1.

Our lucky winner is James S. of Jackson, who financed a 2003 Acura MDX. James wins $300 worth of gas.

Congratulations, James!

Auto loans: fulfilling one guy’s dream

Frances, one of the Member Service Specialists at our Home Office in Jackson, had this story to share about a recent loan closing:

I did a loan for a teenaged guy yesterday who brought his grandpa in as co-signer.

This guy was just so stoked about the 2000 Ford Mustang he was buying; he was overflowing with that unmistakable first-car enthusiasm that seemed to be contagious enough to sufficiently ward off the grandpa’s supposed orneriness. Not even the fact that Secretary of State wasn’t open yesterday [July 6] and he’d only be able to pick up the car today could dampen his fervor. Nor did his grandpa’s explicit threat to twist his arm off and beat him with the bloody stump if he didn’t make his payments put a dent in his mood (“I know where you live, boy! Remember that!”).

He left a happy guy with his check and I thought that was the end of it.

Well, little did I know that one of the first stops he’d be making after picking up his car today was Home Office, with the sole purpose of showing me his shiny new ride. It was fantastic to be able to share in his enthusiasm as we exchanged excited remarks about what a deal it was and how shiny and red she was, glistening there in the parking lot.

He thanked me again for all I’d done and took off, but left me with a warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction for having had a part to play in this 18 year old fulfilling one of his greatest dreams.

Since we do a lot of auto loans, this kind of thing probably happens more often than we think. What about you: what was your first car or truck? And how did you get it?

Let us know in the comments!

Keeping your car maintained: a schedule

With our Auto Loan Expert packets, we’re passing out a short guide of maintenance tasks to do the first year you own your vehicle. Far from comprehensive, our list is a short overview of recommended items.

We assembled a lot of that information from several sources, which are listed below. Browse through each one and get a good idea of recommended to-dos to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.

Edmonds.com also provides a vehicle-specific maintenance recommendation guide. Enter in your car’s make and model and it will show you what to check on at regular mileage intervals.

As with everything auto-related, refer to your specific vehicle’s owner’s manual for detailed instructions and tips.

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.

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.