Why credit unions deserve respect

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
To some of the captive finance companies, banks, F&I vendors and dealership finance managers I talk to, credit unions are a traditional bad guy.

Some dealerships don't like the direct lender who cuts out the middleman. Some banks and captives envy the tax advantages credit unions enjoy. Others describe no conflict with credit unions.

Like them or not, credit unions stuck around in the worst of the credit crunch, when some banks and even captives cut back or bailed out of leases and loans. It's understandable if banks and captives don't love the competition, but credit unions have earned some consideration from dealerships.

And anyway, burying the hatchet isn't just for sentimental reasons: Credit unions increasingly are getting into indirect lending, so who knows? It might pay to be friends.