As inflation sits at 8.5% year-over-year, more Americans are finding it difficult to make monthly essential payments. Mortgage payments, grocery bills, and transportation costs add up. In a state with limited mass transit options, transportation costs, such as a monthly car payment or vehicle maintenance, can be a significant financial burden. For assistance in keeping these costs down, take a look at what your credit union offers to help with car shopping, purchasing, and protection options.
Affinity Federal Credit Union prides itself on having a personal connection with its members and offering flexibility in its auto products and services. Affinity provides comprehensive services and solutions, including auto purchase, leasing support, and loan options. In addition to providing loans for new and used cars with no application fees and no early payoff penalties, Affinity has partnered with Credit Union Leasing of America, “CULA”, to offer leasing options through approved dealers to Affinity members and their families and friends. If you are shopping for a new vehicle, leasing versus buying through a loan can help you drive the car you have your heart set on for about $100 less a month.
How the Plus program benefits drivers
In addition to an average lower monthly cost, the partnership with CULA allows Affinity and other credit unions across the country to offer a high-value leasing program to members. Drivers who get an auto lease with Affinity will experience a simple end-of-lease vehicle return process. They will have the advantage of a $1,000 wear and tear allowance as well as the ability to finance the purchase of their leased vehicle directly with Affinity.
Affinity also offers a car shopping experience through the Costco Auto Program. Costco has negotiated lower auto prices at approved dealers for Affinity members in the new and pre-owned market. Another partnership that allows Affinity to provide options for its members is the relationship with Enterprise. If you need a used vehicle, Affinity and Enterprise work together to provide an opportunity in which members can shop for used lease vehicles that Enterprise either resells from an auction or from their rental fleet.
Affinity is also proud to offer low-cost GAP coverage or “guaranteed asset protection” that helps you pay off your auto loan by protecting you from the “gap” between your vehicle’s depreciated value and the amount you still owe if it is totaled or stolen. Our GAP Advantage program provides deductible reimbursement for an unlimited number of times for 3 years as well as $1,000 toward a replacement vehicle when financed with Affinity within 90 days of the loss.
In case of an emergency, Affinity offers “Mechanical Breakdown Protection”. With this added coverage, customers can have the peace of mind that they will be protected from unexpected expenses resulting from covered mechanical or electrical failures. Members also have the
benefit of 24/7 towing, emergency roadside assistance, and rental reimbursement. Affinity’s program through Costco also offers discounts for repairs and tires at their service centers.
We Help You Do Your Homework
When looking for a lease or loan on any big purchase, it’s important to be aware of your credit score from multiple monitoring agencies, as well as the prospective terms of an agreement you’re seeking. Affinity partners with FICO to provide members with a free credit score, updated quarterly. Scores of 800 or higher are considered exceptional and allow the applicant to be in a good position to obtain the best possible interest rate. You can obtain free credit scores from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion through multiple websites including annualcreditreport.com. The credit union also has its own refinance calculator so those looking to lower their monthly payments can get an idea of the approximate interest rate and monthly cost of a loan they would be offered.
Through its partnerships with a number of dealerships and national relationships, Affinity offers a “one-stop shop” to help applicants navigate the path of their auto buying and financing journey. No matter the type of auto lease or loan you’re looking for, the goal is to provide all the information you need to “find, finance, and protect” your vehicle. The credit union is committed to offering our members the best possible deal and prioritizes the financial well-being of the community. Affinity is proud to have partners like CULA who share the same mission of putting the best interest of the member first. Be sure to take advantage of all the tools, products, and services Affinity has to offer when embarking on your next car shopping experience.
About Kathleen Metz
Kathleen Metz is the Senior Vice President of Lending at Affinity Credit Union. Over her 9 years at Affinity, she has come to oversee lending, including the residential mortgage department, consumer lending, commercial lending, loan servicing, system administration support, and collections and workout. Prior to joining the Affinity team, Metz spent 16 years at The CIT Group/CIT Bank.
 Per Experien’s State of the Automotive Finance Market Q2 2021, the average payment difference between a lease and a loan on an SUV is $109  Retrieved from: https://www.affinityfcu.com/loans/fico-scores.aspx