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Why you should get your car loan at a credit union Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and unique content. We also allow users to conduct research and compare information for free and help you make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers such as, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The products that appear on this website are provided by companies that pay us. This compensation could affect how and when products appear on the site, such as, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. This applies to our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. However, this compensation will have no impact on the information we publish, or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not cover the vast array of companies or financial offers that may be available to you. Emma Turner/Shutterstock.com

5 minutes read Read March 02, 2023.

Writer: Meaghan Hunt. Edited by Personal Finance Contributor Meaghan Hunt works as a writer, researcher, and editor across disciplines who is passionate about personal finance topics. After 10 years of work in public libraries and writing, she now edits, and studies as freelancer full-time. Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers feel confident to take control of their finances through providing precise, well-studied and well-researched data that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate can help. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four years. We are constantly striving to provide consumers with the expert guidance and the tools necessary to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct policy, which means you can be confident that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors, reporters and editors produce honest and reliable content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial team is factual, accurate and is not influenced from our advertising. We’re transparent about the ways we’re able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and helpful tools to our customers by explaining how we make money. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated for the promotion of sponsored goods and services, or when you click on specific links on our website. Therefore, this compensation may affect the way, location and in what order items are listed in the event that they are not permitted by law for our credit, mortgage and other products for home loans. Other factors, like our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is available within your region or within your self-selected credit score range could also affect the way and place products are listed on this website. Although we try to offer an array of offers, Bankrate does not include specific information on every financial or credit product or service. If you’re looking to purchase a used or brand new car it’s a good choice for an loan. There are more than 4,800 federally insured credit unions in the United States, with over the 134 million members that belong to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Banks with national affiliations have more branches, and they are usually faster to adopt the latest technology. However, those who are interested in saving money owe it to themselves to explore what credit unions have to offer. Credit unions frequently have greater advantages than online lenders and banks, and they also offer individual service and a host of other advantages. Important takeaways

Credit unions can offer more benefits to the borrower than banks are in a position to rival. Lower interest rate, a community presence and a borrower-oriented business model set credit unions apart.

6 reasons to get a credit union car loan If you’re looking for your next car, consider the following benefits of obtaining an auto loan from an institution like a credit union. 1. Lower interest rates . Unlike bank, credit unions may provide lower rates since they aren’t a profit-making institution. They’re also seeing an exponential rise in auto loan originations. « Typically the lending rate (at credit unions) is very competitive compared to other lenders in most situations, » says Bill Meyer, former public relations and content manager at CU Direct, which connects credit unions to auto dealers across the nation. In the quarter that ended in 2022, the rate for the five-year new automobile loan from a credit union was 4.74 percent as per the NCUA. At banks they were 5.53 percent. When you borrow $30,000 to finance automobile, the credit union saves you $327 in interest over the course of your loan. 2. Personalized service, community connections The procedure for getting an auto loan isn’t much different between the credit unions and banks. However, if you have less credit however, you might still be eligible for an auto loan from an institution like a credit union instead of a bank. « Credit unions are likely to have more flexibility when it comes to underwriting, » says Mike Schenk who is vice president of research and policy analysis at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a trade association. Credit unions are also more likely to cooperate with those who are going through a rough patch and need longer to complete a payment. « You have a story that is unique and your story is much better suited to being heard at a credit union. In big financial institutions there is a greater chance that you will have underwriting procedures that are established in stone and executed in some corporate office a few states away. Walk into a credit union, and you’re more likely engage in a discussion. » 3. User-friendly loan process Long gone are the days of having visiting a branch to get a car loan. Many credit unions are now letting applicants apply online, over the phone, or . If you’re seeking financing through a dealership, « invariably, the dealer will recommend credit union financing and the credit union that you can join as a member, » Schenk says, « so it’s really an easy procedure. » Still it is recommended to do your research prior to visiting the dealership. Some dealerships don’t cooperate with credit unions and if you can be a member and receive the best price when you work directly with the credit union. In addition, you’ll receive a favorable loan offer before you begin buying a car and won’t be required to pay a markup from the dealer on the rate you are offered. 4. Credit unions have many additional benefits. Members, not shareholders, have their own credit unions and any profits they earn go to the members in the dividends. Credit unions are also able to pass on the profits to their customers through greater rates on deposit accounts and on loan products, such as auto loans. Most credit unions also participate in a shared branch as well as ATM network. Schenk states that CUNA’s members are part of an ATM network that is shared with more than 40,000 ATMs. Credit unions are focused on educating their customers, too, so you are able to get help on the best financial options to suit your needs. « Credit unions are full-service, offering the same financial products as banks. They’re just structured differently which means that they provide significant benefits for credit union members, » Schenk says. This focus on the member could be a more thorough discussion about your financial situation before the credit union either approves or declines your loan. Credit unions are often more understanding and accommodating than traditional banks in making lending decisions. 5. Membership is simple. Some believe credit unions are available only to people who work for an industry, company or government organization, and that anyone not a member of a group cannot join. Meyer states that this is not the case anymore. « Most credit unions will allow anyone to join. » CUNA has credit unions that have community charters, which permit them to serve more geographical areas. If you’re looking for an institution near you then go to the website and enter your zip code. « It would be shocking to find a consumer that didn’t have access an institution of credit, » Schenk says. 6. Car loans are a huge part of what credit unions do Be prepared if an auto dealer refers customers to credit union prior to the bank. Credit union for new and used cars alike increased to 17.9 per cent and 19 in each case, as per 2022 . Credit unions had $166.8 billion worth of loan balances for new vehicles at the close in the 3rd quarter 2022 and $305.3 billion for used cars. What is the procedure to apply for an auto credit from a credit union loan? The process of financing a car with a credit union is similar to other lenders, with the exception the membership requirement. If you are an active member, you are able to apply for a car loan online, over the telephone or in a branch, depending on the credit union. A majority of credit unions review the following to determine your eligibility for an auto loan: Your personal information. Your income and employment information. Your . The VIN number for your vehicle. (VIN) and the miles for the car you wish to purchase. Make sure you submit proof of insurance to the credit union in the application procedure. Note that although you might be able to enroll and request an auto loan within the next day, some credit unions require you to wait for a month or two before you apply. What is the difference between a bank, dealer and credit union auto loan? The major difference between a bank and an auto credit union loan is the financing terms. Certain banks may offer promotional offers particularly if you have a solid relationship, good payment history and a . Credit unions as well as banks may offer incentives like an autopay discount if you are an existing customer. Because credit unions are not-for profit organizations and run by members, you can usually enjoy better rates and less costs compared to banks that are for profit, which shareholders own. When you get a car loan , the loan originates from a third party financial entity. Dealers receive compensation to connect you to one of their financing partners. Due to this, there are more options than the interest rate you get through the dealership , compared to an institution like a credit union or bank. If there’s an issue with the financing firm, the dealer won’t help you — you’ll have to sort it out your own. The bottom line When purchasing a new or used car, you have several options to choose from for financing. If you are a member of an institution like a credit union, then you could be able to enjoy low interest rates and lower costs compared to big banks as well as dealership loans. The application process is similar once you’ve gained membership, and the benefits may assist you in getting approval particularly in the event that your credit score isn’t the highest credit score.


Written by the Personal finance contributor Meaghan Hunt is a researcher and writer across various disciplines who has a passion for personal finance-related topics. After 10 years of work in libraries that were open to the public, she currently edits, writes, and researches as a full-time freelancer. Edited by Rhys Subitch Editored by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to control their finances by providing precise, well-studied information that break down complex topics into digestible chunks.

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