LAS VEGAS — The oft-repeated complaint by credit unions that members brought in through indirect auto loans are difficult to make "real" members has been addressed by CU Direct's purchase of Intuvo, a marketing automation software company.

That is the message from Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CU Direct. The company announced Wednesday it has acquired a controlling interest in the Scott's Valley, Calif.-based Intuvo, which previously was known for its mortgage software.

The two parties said Intuvo's technology platform will provide a number of market extensions for CU Direct, including marketing automation tools that will be integrated with the company's Lending 360 Loan Origination System's cross-sell engine.

Credit Union Journal sat down with Boutelle and Jeff Shood, CEO of Intuvo, during CU Direct's "Drive" conference here Thursday. The two said their companies began working on a partnership last summer.

According to Boutelle, the addition of Intuvo, "Really solves the holy grail of indirect lending — making those indirect members real members," he said. "Phone calling does not work anymore. No one wants to be called at the dinner hour. Intuvo's approach, using e-mail and mobile, will help bring these new members fully in to the credit union."

Shood said Intuvo was a Silicon Valley startup seven years ago and has made its mark with mortgage lending software. He said the company's focus is on understanding needs and then communicating and marketing in "very personal ways."

"Our analytics tell credit unions the proper things to tell members at the right time," he said.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, along with markets in certain parts of Florida and elsewhere, real estate markets are so hot the last two years credit unions have been losing up to two-thirds of their pre-approved mortgage borrowers, Shood noted. Intuvo has helped boost pull-through rates 20% to 70%, he said.

"Our partnership with CU Direct expands Intuvo into car loans," said Shood. "We will take the loans and do marketing, cross-selling and onboarding. We can even market mechanical breakdown insurance to buyers that did not purchase that product from their dealer."

Four credit unions are in beta testing with Intuvo, said Shood.

"Tony and the CU Direct know credit unions and the challenges they face, and we have the tools to help," Shood declared.

Added Boutelle, "I think we will make more of an impact than ever before. Intuvo makes offers based on intelligence that will give credit unions a chance to refi other loans. We see this as working with business lending, also. Intuvo is a great strategic fit and we are excited about the partnership. We will help credit unions make more loans."

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