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5 Reasons a Credit Union Is the Best Place for a Car Loan

Couple purchasing vehicle

Buying a new car is an exciting milestone. You’ve probably already pictured yourself being handed the keys and driving off the lot. However, finding a car loan at the rate you want can be a more challenging process.

When people think of loans, banks are one of the first things to come to mind. But have you ever considered going to a credit union instead? Though often smaller in size, a credit union may have more opportunities for you than your bank can offer.

Rivermark Community Credit Union is a staple in Oregon, providing its members with top-of-the-line banking services with a personal approach. And when it comes to car loans, there’s no better option. Credit unions are the best place for car loans because they offer low-interest rates, personalized service, unique partnering opportunities, and so much more. With a membership at a credit union like Rivermark, you can finance the car of your dreams hassle-free. Here are a few ways that prove the best place for a car loan is a credit union.

1) Low-Interest Rates

When people are searching for a car loan, they want to find a rate that doesn’t make them pay a ton in interest over time. And banks aren’t usually too lenient when it comes to that. Luckily, most credit unions are. Low-interest rates are actually one of the biggest reasons credit unions are the best place for car loans.

As of December 2019, a five-year new car loan has an average interest rate of 5.16% across all banks, according to the National Credit Union Administration. The average for credit unions sits substantially lower at just 3.53%. That jump can save you over $1,000 in interest over time.

Knowing there are better and cheaper options available to you is enough reason for most people to make the jump to a credit union. Rivermark offers a competitive interest rate on car loans for its members, but that’s just one of the many perks that come along with joining.

2) Better Chance at Approval

Great rates aren’t exclusive to people with excellent credit when you work with a credit union. Most banks are strict when it comes to loan approval, checking for a high credit score and nothing else. A credit union will consider the whole picture.

As a member of a credit union, the staff is more willing to work with you. Local credit unions get to know their members personally and are usually more willing to hear them out when it comes to applying for a loan. Aside from that, credit unions are more flexible with your credit score, offering applicants with scores under 700 an option to become approved as well.

3) Express Auto Loan Options

The loan options available at credit unions often differ from what you’d experience at a bank. For instance, Rivermark Community CU offers members the option to become preapproved for an Express Auto Loan. The application can be done at a branch or even online. Once approved, you’ll be able to negotiate with your car dealer as a cash buyer.

It may sound confusing, but the process is actually very simple. Being approved for the Express Auto Loan will allow you to receive an express blank check. The check will be good for any amount up to your preapproved limit. This option will empower your negotiations with the dealership, as cash buyers are more appealing to dealers. Once you’ve negotiated a price, you’ll simply fill in the agreed-upon number on the check and sign it like you typically would.

This is a great option to literally have in your pocket. It gives you the freedom to pay for your car at the dealer when you’re ready. Rivermark gives members up to 30 days to complete the transaction, which gives you ample time to shop around if you haven’t yet. And once you hand over the check and the Dealer Instructions page to the dealership, you’ll soon be driving your car off the lot.

4) Education Resources

Deciding to use a loan to pay for your car is a great way to go about buying one, but knowing as much as you can about the process is even better. When you’re a member of a credit union, you have the opportunity to take advantage of their free educational resources.

Rivermark offers its members tools and financial advice from trusted professionals. With their help, you can become knowledgeable in not only the car loan process but other borrowing processes as well. You’ll also have access to other financial resources, such as information on mortgages, credit and debt calculators, savings and investing information, and more.

5) Unique Partnerships

Another advantage of getting a car loan at a credit union is that credit unions offer unique partnerships that other banks cannot. These partnerships offer members exclusive deals that can score them great deals on cars.

Rivermark has a few partnerships that can assist members in the car-buying process. One is our partnership with Auto Solution, which helps you find the perfect car at a terrific price. On average, our members say they save over $2,000 versus MSRP. They’re also able to avoid visiting the dealership while looking for a car.

Auto Solution’s knowledgeable consultants are able to conduct a thorough search for the vehicle you’re interested in, arrange a test drive, and even have the vehicle delivered to a location near you, with no obligation for you to accept if you find that it’s not a good fit. The flexibility offered through the partnership with Auto Solution is great for our members and their often busy schedules.

Enterprise Car Sales is another business that partners with Rivermark. It also offers credit union members great prices on used vehicles. Enterprise marks their no-haggle price clearly, offering you a worry-free environment when you’re looking for a used car to call your own. Their vehicles are rigorously inspected and come with 12-month/12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

One of the best times to apply to be a member of a credit union is when you’re looking for a car loan. Take advantage of the resources they offer while getting the lowest possible rate for your car loan.

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.

Auto Loan Resources