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GM expands credit union program nationally

Thu, 08 Jan 2009

General Motors on Wednesday launched a nationwide test program that gives 90 million credit union members access to the company's Credit Union Member Discount Program with participating GM dealers.

The "Invest in America" program also gives members access to financing on new-vehicle purchases.

This follows a four-state Midwest program GM began early last month. The expanded program now encompasses nearly 8,000 credit unions nationwide. It makes a credit union member discount available for eligible new-vehicle purchases as well as more than $80 billion in credit union low-cost auto loans.

This week, Chrysler LLC expanded its credit union program nationally after starting it in 12 states.

Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of North America sales, service and marketing, said in a statement: "We've had very positive responses from our dealers to the four-state Midwest credit union pilot that is currently running.

"This national pilot really expands the benefits of a great GM supplier price to credit union members all around the country who also have access to affordable financing through their local credit union."

The national test program, running through March 31, offers GM supplier price discounts on new Buick, Cadillac, Hummer, Saab, Chevrolet, GMC, Saturn and Pontiac vehicles.

Jim Bunnell, executive director of GM's channel support group, said the program includes almost all 2008 and 2009 models, except for the Corvette and medium-duty trucks.

According to a Datatrac survey of more than 17,000 financial institutions, the average credit union loan rate is 5.4 percent, compared with 6.9 percent for the average bank rate the past two months, the Michigan Credit Union League said in a press statement.

The original test in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio will run through June.

The Web site for the program,, yielded about 1.3 million hits, Bunnell said.

"And based on the prospects who came into the credit union and asked for an authorization code to get the discount, 30 percent of those ended up buying a GM vehicle," he said. "So that's a high conversion number and a good success rate."

Chrysler's program gives credit union members additional rebates of $500 to $1,000 on most Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. The expanded offer took effect on Tuesday. Qualifying credit union members get the rebates on top of other incentives that Chrysler offers.

Dave Adams, CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League, said credit unions also are in talks with Ford Motor Co. and hope to announce something soon.

Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said company officials have spoken to credit union representatives, but Ford has no plans to provide special discounts to credit union members. The Ford Credit captive finance unit already provides strong financial services to customers and dealerships, she said.

Amy Wilson contributed to this report.

By Jamie LaReau- Automotive News