Credit Union Utilizes Special Events to Bulk Up Powersports Dealer Network

canstockphoto5698673America’s First Federal Credit Union (AFFCU) upped its powersports dealer network and loan origination volume in 2016, thanks to participating in more dealer-specific events, Bob Jaffe, indirect loan manager, told Powersports Finance.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based credit union added five dealers last year, bringing its total network up to 30 dealers, Jaffe said. AFFCU’s powersports loan originations ticked up 5% in 2016, as compared to 2015.

“We are very active in the communities we serve and sponsor numerous events that require on-site participation,” he said, including boat shows, auto shows, fishing tournaments, dealer shows, and other dealer-specific events. “We are always searching for opportunities to work with our dealer partners for business-related or charitable events,” he added.

While Jaffe declined to specify how many dealers AFFCU projected to add to its network this year, the credit union plans to continue to participate in these on-site events in 2017, in an effort to bolster dealer count and improve dealer relationships.

“These events definitely strengthen our relationships, which in turn provides additional business in the future,” Jaffe said. “We have actually gained some very good indirect partners — mainly powersport and marine — through various shows,” and AFFCU is always trying to deepen relationships with its dealer base “with quality visits and various entertainment events throughout the year.”

AFFCU has several “high-volume dealers that produce strong loan volume year round,” Jaffe said, and the lender is “cautiously optimistic” this volume will continue in 2017. However, AFFCU will remain “conservative” with its lending practices, by monitoring market conditions and portfolio performance to ensure the credit union’s risk and return remain at “acceptable” levels, he added.

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