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5 Tips for Finding the Best Credit Union for Auto Loans

Family excited about new car

When you’re ready to buy a car, you’ll need a good credit union. The auto loan process can either be a pain or a quick and easy experience, depending on your financial institution. That’s why, when you’re ready to apply for an auto loan, you want to find a quality credit union.

Finding the best credit union for your auto loan is easy if you know what you’re looking for. Not all credit unions are built the same, and some offer better options depending on your needs. They can also offer you great deals, more services, and convenient branch locations.

If you’re in the Portland area, Rivermark Community Credit Union can assist you with all your auto loan needs. And if you’re not, we can give you some advice on how to find the right lender for you. Here are some tips for finding the best credit union for auto loans.

1) Search in the Area You Live In

Nothing beats being able to interact with your financial institution face-to-face. It’s nice to be able to ask questions in real-time, with a real person who wants to see you succeed in the auto loan process. That’s why when you’re looking for the best credit union for auto loans, it’s best to start searching right in your area. You’ll want the credit union to be easily accessible, and the closer you are to their branches, the easier it will be to go in when you have questions or need assistance. Rivermark Community Credit Union has seven convenient locations in Oregon so you can easily find a branch.

Aside from the convenience of access to local branches, dealing with a credit union close to you ensures that they’re familiar with the area you’ll be buying a car in. After dealing with many other locals and aiding them in their car-buying processes, a local credit union will have tips and advice to help make your process easier too. They may even have special partnerships with local car dealer businesses that they can offer to you.

2) Find Pre-Approval Options

A good pre-approval option can give you flexibility when it comes to buying a car. Some credit unions will offer you the option of being pre-approved at a local branch or even online. This quickens the process of getting you an auto loan, which translates to you getting your car faster as well.

A great option at Rivermark Community CU is the Express Auto Loan option. With the Express Auto Loan, you’ll be given a “blank check” upon pre-approval. This will help you feel empowered in your negotiations at the car dealership because you’ll be able to negotiate as a cash buyer. You’ll have up to 30 days after you receive your blank Express check to use it, and you’ll be able to write it for any amount within your pre-approved limit. Once you sign the check, your loan will be activated and you can drive off the lot in your new car.

3) Check Out the APR

No one wants to be overpaying with their auto loan, which is why shopping around for the best APR (annual percentage rate) is so important. An APR will tell you how much interest you’ll be paying on your auto loan. When you’re looking for an auto loan with a credit union, a low APR will be a good sign.

With APRs as low as 2.66% for cars 2018 and newer and APRs as low as 2.74% for cars 2017 and older, Rivermark Community CU has some of the best rates in the area. Keeping these rates low allows you to pay off the loan in your own time, without dealing with a large amount of interest.

4)  Ask About Special Deals

If there’s something extra that you can get from a credit union when applying for an auto loan, it’s good to know ahead of time. When you’re shopping around for a credit union, ask them if they have any special deals they can offer you. Asking about deals and partnerships beforehand can help you make your decision.

Rivermark Community CU has a partnership with Enterprise Car Sales that offers members a great deal on used vehicles. With that offer, customers can search more than 5,000 cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs both locally and online. This is the perfect option if you’re looking into buying a used car and want to feel secure doing so. Along with a rigorous inspection of every vehicle, you’ll also receive a 12-month/12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

Along with the Enterprise Car Sales partnership, Rivermark also has a partnership with Auto Solution. With this partnership, members don’t need to visit a dealership to find the car of their dreams. A knowledgeable consultant can conduct a search and schedule a time for you to test drive your prospective vehicle. On average, members say they saved over $2,000 versus MSRP.

5) See What Else They Have to Offer

Most credit unions will be able to offer you some type of auto loan, but the ones that have even more to offer will stand out from the crowd. Some credit unions have other financial services that may be appealing to you too, like educational tools that will give you a better understanding of how to use your money in the best way.

At Rivermark Community Credit Union, the goal isn’t just to provide you with an auto loan but to make sure you know as much as you can about the entire process. That’s why we offer auto loan resources. These include a variety of financial resources, including calculators, helpful articles, and information on auto buying and loan protection services. Through these resources, you’ll have everything you need to make a wise decision for you and for your finances. 

Have Questions About Auto Loans?

Our auto loan resources page can help you make informed decisions as you prepare to shop for a car or apply for an auto loan. And, as always, you can call Rivermark and speak directly to a lending expert by calling 503.626.6600.