LAS VEGAS -- CU Direct has enhanced its CUDL lending platform to make it easier for dealers to access pre-approvals, gain instant decisions on applications and get faster funding.
The company revealed the upgraded platform, which is currently in Beta testing, on April 2 in conjunction with the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here.
“This is the next generation in the sense of the software,” Jerry Neemann, CU Direct’s executive vice president, Automotive Solution, told Automotive News on the sidelines of the convention. “This allows faster communication and a different look and feel as far as functionality. That means less clicks, easier movement of data and an overall process that is more fluid. It is the next generation of expanded integration.”
Dealers will also find more critical financing information and status updates on the revised platform’s home screen, streamlining the entire interface and eliminating multiple screens and clicks, Neemann said. The enhanced platform -- scheduled to launch nationwide in the early part of the third quarter -- enables dealers to expand the volume of customers they can process. Many of the platform enhancements were made in response to consultation with and feedback from CUDL’s dealer advisory and user groups, he said.
“We build all of our own technology so that we can really zero in on enhancing the member experience,” Neemann said. “That allows us to do some very unique things” in a centralized system with data specific to each dealer.
Currently about 1,100 credit unions and 12,800 auto dealers use the CUDL platform, with 600 to 800 additions annually, Neemann said. The latest addition, announced March 31, is PenFed Credit Unit, one of the largest credit unions in the U.S. with 1.4 million members worldwide and about $20 billion in assets.
CU Direct has zoned in on slow growth since it began the CUDL platform in 1994 with about 200 California-based dealers. In 2015, as a group, credit unions using the CUDL platform were the third-largest auto lender in the country, generating $26 billion in new auto loans.
The steady growth is testament to how the relationship between auto dealers and credit unions has evolved and advanced into a solid partnership that “is paying dividends for both credit unions and dealers,” said CU Direct spokesman Bill Meyer.
Neemann said one major factor for the company’s success is that both car dealers and credit unions are led by local people who want to partner to further grow their communities. Although dealers on the CUDL network use lenders other than credit unions, the community bond does at least sway them to consider local credit union resources, he said. And CUDL’s community-based field operatives further strengthen local connections.
“Every market in every state is unique,” he said. “Our [field-op employees] live local and work local. They go into dealerships and help them; they go into credit unions and help them. They don’t just fly in and fix the problem and fly out.”