Popularity Of Rebate Offer For Refinanced Auto Loans Leads To Extension

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Premier America Credit Union expected to add a moderate number of auto loans to its books with a summer 2003 rebate promotion. The program has been so popular, however, the CU has continued to offer it to new members.

The program-which originally ran from May 12 to Sept. 19, 2003-awards members a $150 rebate if they bring their auto loan to Premier America from another lender. The minimum loan amount is $10,000, and the car must be from the 2001 to 2004 model years.

Marti James, Premier America's vice president of lending, said the program was an attempt to capture loans from members who had obtained financing through dealers or other sources.

"People love it," she said. "We were surprised so many members jumped on the bandwagon. We thought people would find refinancing their car to be a hassle. That extra $150 in someone's pocket is a big thing."

Premier America booked $9.9 million in loans during the four months of the promotion. Last fall, the CU launched another program that gave members a 1% rebate on a minimum $5,000 loan. Between Sept. 29, 2003, and Jan. 9, 2004, the 1% rebate drew an additional $10 million in loans. "Both promotions were successful," said James, who added PACU has not done a detailed cost analysis. "Since the $150 rebate program ended in September, we have continued to offer it to new members, such as when we add new SEGs."

James said the CU has no plans to end the offer. "The staff likes the $150 rebate. It is a great icebreaker when talking to new members. People like incentives."

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