GrooveCar Direct is expanding again through a pair of new partnerships to bolster its vehicle-buying resource for the nation’s credit union industry.

Coming aboard the platform are Service 1st Credit Union of Tampa, Fla., as well as Long Island Realtors Federal Credit Union in West Babylon, N.Y.

Service 1st is a state chartered, federally insured, financial institution with assets of more than $18 million serving 2,121 members since 1939.

Located in Tampa, Service 1st was founded as Tamaimi Bus Lines Credit Union. In 1989 the credit union added other transportation and industrial companies, additional changes led to the renaming of the credit union in 2006 to Service 1st.

“GrooveCar empowered our members with the tools and information necessary to make informed auto buying decisions. We use the auto buying data to connect with our members while assisting them with loan options before they visit the dealership,” said Richard Pacelko, senior consumer financial advocate at Service 1st Credit Union.

Long Island Realtors Credit Union was established in 1972 and has four satellite offices on Long Island serving more than 1,700 members with assets in excess of $12.3 million.

“GrooveCar helped us implement a program to connect with our auto buying members in new and unique ways. We are able to foster that relationship throughout the entire auto buying process, providing vehicle information and loan options before they visit the dealership,” said Luisa Harman, chief operating officer of Long Island Realtors Federal Credit Union, adding “The customer service at GrooveCar was crucial to helping make this program an early success and we look forward to what else we will accomplish together as we push forward.

“Our goal is to empower our members with the tools and information necessary to make an informed automobile purchase,” Harman went on to say. “GrooveCar helped us solidify our presence with our members throughout the auto buying purchase, leading to an increase in loan closures.”

With the industry projected to sell more than 17 million new vehicles this year largely due to a recuperating economy and stable job market. GrooveCar insisted programs are positioned to help credit unions take advantage of this flourishing market.

Furthermore, GrooveCar Direct emphasized that staying connected with members throughout the vehicle-buying process is critical to any auto financing program.

According to a recent study by J.D. Power, the average new-vehicle buyer who uses the Internet during their shopping process will spend, on average, nearly 14 hours on the Internet shopping for a vehicle prior to purchase.

Consumers are actively and passionately seeking out these valuable buying tools, resources and dealer inventory before they visit the dealership and finalize their purchase. Providing this data along with a new marketing approach through the GrooveCar program, credit unions are able to connect with their auto buying members in real-time before they reach the dealership.

“Our program provides credit unions with the tools to grow from within, which is a goal every credit union aims for. After all, deepening the relationship with existing members is extremely profitable while building a more stable and solid membership base,” GrooveCar vice president of strategic alliances Robert O’Hara said.

“With auto lending up more than 30 percent at credit unions since 2012, the auto industry is experiencing a banner year, and this is expected to continue into 2016 and beyond,” O’Hara continued. “As credit unions generate more loan volume in this category, the GrooveCar program provides all the tools necessary to help credit unions take advantage of capturing more auto loans from members.

“The auto buying resource provides members with all the resources and interactive functions expected when shopping for a vehicle online,” he wenton to say.

“The goal is to provide solutions to fit the financial needs of members during the vehicle purchase process. GrooveCar takes the stress out of the equation and gets members on the road with a vehicle they are passionate about,” O’Hara added.

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