Credit Union Auto Discount Program Helped Fuel Economic Recovery
LIVONIA, Mich. – It's been said that when the auto industry catches a cold, Michigan catches the flu.
That's why, at the height of the financial crisis, credit unions quietly stepped in under their guiding philosophy of people helping people.
David Adams, president and CEO of Michigan Credit Union League and Affiliates, says in 2008, he approached General Motors with an idea: Offer an exclusive discount to credit union members that would in turn boost sales, help save jobs and protect the financial well-being of millions of families.
"It was a very painful time for our country and for Michigan, so one of their top execs told me that he appreciated so much that credit unions believed in General Motors when it seemed like nobody else would," Adams relates.
The program, which was launched under the name Invest in America, is now known as Love My Credit Union Rewards, and has resulted in the sale of almost 1 million cars and trucks.
With sales now growing at the fastest pace in a decade, GM has decided to suspend the incentive program as of Oct. 1.
Adams stresses that while the GM discount program is coming to an end, numerous other incentive programs continue, along with the overall benefits of credit union membership.
"Responsible lending, providing great value, providing the best rates, the lowest fees in the marketplace,” he points out. “So any time we can layer on top of that, those are the kinds of programs that make it all that much more attractive to be a member of a credit union."
The financial crisis also served to change the way many people think about where they put their money, resulting in steady growth for not-for-profit credit unions over the last several years.
Michigan now has close to 5 million credit union members, according to the Michigan Credit Union League.