LAS VEGAS-New research by Goldman Consulting & Strategy has drilled down into how consumers ages 23 to 45 finance vehicles. Among the findings, according to Neil Goldman, senior partner at the Del Aire, Calif.-based firm, is that two-thirds of those in the market for new or used vehicles do nothing-they simply accept what the dealers offer.

"Only one-in-four go to their primary financial institution," he said. "Credit unions need to help people find financing. Even better, call people after the loan to see if these consumers were happy, as this leads to greater penetration."

Preapprovals are "empowering" to consumers, according to Goldman, because having a quote from their credit union gives the consumer a negotiating position and serves to expedite paperwork. However, many consumers do not know of that they can obtain a preapproval.

The vast majority of participants in a GCS focus group participants said they would seek preapproval for their next auto purchase.

From the CU perspective, placing a preapproval in the hands of a member looking to buy a car "significantly" aids in securing loans, but still is no guarantee due to power of the dealer, Goldman warned.

"The good news is 80% of those with preapproval ended up financing with that provider, but only 25 out of 100 car buyers had a preapproval."

As confirmed by the GCS study, many people think the dealer will present them with several offers for financing, but the vast majority see only one. Fully 80% of buyers are presented with just one or two offers.

 

Mobile & Shopping

For consumers age 23-45 who are in the market to purchase a car, 75% go online first. Goldman said the No. 1 search option cited was dealer websites, followed by manufacturer sites, Edmunds.com, KBB.com and ConsumerReports.org.

All of which leads to an important question, he said: Is the credit union operating in the spaces where consumers and members are looking for financing and answers?

"The vast majority of consumers own smart phones, and roughly half used a smart phone to shop for a car," he said. "Mobile banking is becoming increasingly important, which leads to a big opportunity for lending apps."

Goldman said it is vital to teach consumers to get information via the CU. People want payment calculators, confirmation of trade-in value, Carfax reports, and other advice and information.

"Put the credit union in their pocket," he counseled.

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