Shopping for auto financing? Details Here.
Looking for a new set of wheels? You’re not alone. Spring and summer are the hot times for buying new cars. But how can you get the best buy for your buck as you are shopping for auto financing?
Gulf Winds offers low rates, speedy customer service and a simple, streamlined process, which can be critical when you are negotiating a vehicle purchase.
Car loan applicants are a mix of Gulf Winds members and those who have heard good things about the way credit unions operate, said Mary Pollard, Gulf Winds Consumer Loan Manager.
“The reputation of the credit union is that we’re here to take care of members instead of running everything like a business that is interested only in making money,” she said. “When people come to us, they see the difference in working with a credit union versus a bank.”
The first difference is lower rates. “Our interest rates are very competitive in the market,” Pollard said.
Low interest rates draw people into Gulf Winds, but seeing the quality of service and ease of transactions often converts a car buyer into a credit union member, she added. Members have the added convenience of making their loan payments automatically from their account.
“The first step for most buyers is to get pre-approved. Pre-approval may require a simple verification of income, so having that paperwork in hand may help speed the process,” Pollard said.
Buyers who have found the vehicle they wish to purchase from a dealer should also bring in a purchase agreement and proof of insurance. Loans to buy a car from an individual can involve a few more steps. Pollard said, “Having the buyer and seller come in at the same time to complete the loan transaction streamlines an individual to individual sale. It is also important if the vehicle is financed with another lender, that the seller provides a 10-day payoff. ”
Or, someone may want to refinance their current auto loan to take advantage of better rates. Pollard said, “Instead of a purchase agreement, they just need to bring us the 10-day payoff and information on where to send the check.”
“Once we have all the collateral information together, the loan request goes to our underwriting department for review,” Pollard said. “The turnaround can be 10 minutes or less, which is nice because if they have found the car they want, they can come in, get approved and have the check in hand in under an hour.”
The full underwriting process involves pulling a credit report and determining how much car they can afford based on their income and length of time on the job. Another factor can be the applicant’s previous relationship with the credit union, such as having previous loans in good standing.
Buyers can also apply for loans online through gogulfwinds.com. Membership is not required, and applicants can take advantage of Gulf Winds’ special auto loan rates if they live, work, worship or attend school in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla or Jefferson Counties, Florida and Escambia County, Alabama.
Another way Gulf Winds serves its auto loan members is to offer additional services at lower prices than dealers.
“At the dealership they have a much larger mark-up,” Pollard said. “When you look at the products comparing apples to apples, the cost is less for the same options at the credit union.”
An extended warranty program protects the collateral if it is no longer covered under the factory warranty. Gap insurance covers the unpaid balance of the vehicle in the event of a total loss. This occurs when the amount paid by the insurance company is less than the amount of money owed on the loan. Gap insurance through Gulf Winds can save 50 percent or more on this important coverage.
“We strive to showcase that we’re local and to offer products that will help all of our members,” Pollard said.
If you are one of the many thinking about buying a new or used car, talk to the car loan experts at Gulf Winds and find out how much you can save with a credit union car loan.