By: Robert O'Hara, VP Strategic Alliances, GrooveCar & CU Xpress Lease

Opportunity is out there and it’s not that hard to find. That’s my takeaway after attending and speaking with many credit union representatives who stopped in at GrooveCar’s booth. There were 954 credit unions reported to be in attendance last week, to say it was a whirlwind of activities, is an understatement. The theme of the conference was “Powerful Cause and Positive Effect,” a slogan to bring the industry together to urge congress to support any legislation that would reduce excessive financial regulations burdening credit unions. It was a great message that resonated with the 5,000 credit unions leaders in attendance.

Having attended the GAC for the past 6 years, I am always eager to catch up and solicit feedback with attendees who stop and spent time with us at our booth. When I did have the opportunity to walk around the expo hall, I was struck by the staggering array of products and services designed for credit union growth and business best practices. There was a lot of innovation behind what I saw, and all credit unions seemed engaged and excited about what they could do with these products and services.

I had the opportunity to speak with many of our clients, and many more that I hope will join the GrooveCar program. Conversations I had with our credit union partners centered around how pleased they were with the program, especially the new features that are introduced throughout the year that keep them relevant with members. They commented on new features like the value pricing tool which informs users how much similar cars are currently selling for in their region. They are thrilled with our interactive refinance feature that enhances their loan recapture effort as well as our incentive feature, which allows them to connect with their members throughout the car buying journey, while also appearing as forward thinking. Credit unions not on our program also enjoyed perusing through the program's features using tablets that we made available to them, which provided real-time access to the online resource. Plus, using the tablet further illustrated how simple the site was to navigate when car shopping while also checking out the mobile responsive design...perfect for connecting with Millennials. Many attendees remarked that they can see many of their members using this site while also using the platform to highlight their preferred dealer network. They recognized that this program allows them the unique opportunity to know which of their members are car shopping before visiting the dealer. Hearing this confirmation from our target audience is always good to hear!

One of my takeaways was how difficult the landscape is for credit unions. Even as credit unions continue to grow year-over-year in their markets, it’s a very fast-paced and competitive market. I was struck by the passion they had, both individually and as a group, to bring new programs and products to members. Not just providing the same old tired message, but innovative ways to engage their members. They were looking at ways to be an anchor for members in this storm of conflicting messages and provide solutions to financial needs. When discussion came around to organic growth, all agreed, a product that can be used to get into many member hands will generate greater profit margins and is very high on their priority list. Growth opportunities are out just have to be willing to take the time to seek them out.


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