OSDCU Offers Online Lending; Members Prefer To Call

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The online auto loan application at Ogden School District Credit Union is a fifth wheel-members would rather call loan officers to talk auto lending at the $17-million CU here.

That's according to Kent Greenfield, CEO at Ogden School District CU (OSDCU). And the CU isn't suffering from lack of loan volume. "We're more than 108% loaned out," he said.

"Members would rather come in and see us than use our website application for a car loan," Greenfield explained. "Our loan officers have developed a strong relationship with members that is more important sometimes than the technology aspect.

"Members will call and chat to see if they're making the right decision," Greenfield continued. "That way, members are getting a consultant along with a loan officer."

Online loan apps can push lending volume, according to research by Callahan and Associates and CUNA Mutual Group. Callahan recently reported that online auto apps may offer members 24-hour access to loan services, appeal to tech-savvy members, and increase a CU's competitive advantage.

All that doesn't mean much to Ogden School District CU. The credit union currently has more than $12 million in auto loans, despite the fact that "less than a dozen" auto loan applications were submitted online via its website since the launch of the service in April 2002, said Greenfield. Auto loans comprise 75% of the CU's total loan volume.

It's not that OSDCU's 3,200 members aren't plugged-in. A full 30% of them are homebanking users, Greenfield said. Therefore, submitting applications online should be second nature for OSDCU members.

"Our membership includes teachers who deal with software everyday," he continued. "And the credit union is driven by technology. We try to stay current with a full selection of electronic services, such as transaction downloads and e- mail statements."

In addition, OSDCU is "pursuing avenues for first mortgages online," Greenfield said. Unlike the auto-lending program, the three-branch CU doesn't have the in-house expertise to support a first mortgage program.

"A quick first mortgage application on the Internet may benefit our membership, and our members have asked for online mortgage applications," he explained.

Though online application volume is "non-existent," Greenfield said, "we're offering the application at our website because the competition is doing it."

OSDCU is using its online presence to promote auto lending rather than pushing online auto loan applications. The Loan Information page details the CU's auto, home, personal and debit card products in order to "give our members as much info as possible," said Greenfield.

Members and potential members can apply for loans through three channels, including branches, the website, and via car dealerships. About 50% of OSDCU's auto loan apps originate at the CU's branches.

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