We've had nothing but bad news to report about the state of the automotive credit industry for months, but this morning we've got something good to report. If you live in the Midwest and need a new car, try a joining credit union. They've got new money to lend.
The Detroit Free Press reports, "General Motors Corp., coping with a credit crunch that has sent industrywide sales plummeting to the lowest level in 26 years, is expected to announce a partnership with Midwest credit unions that will make it easier for consumers to buy cars." The program, in partnership with the Michigan Credit Union League, "offers new or current members of 1,200 credit unions access to lower loan rates and about 4.5 percent off manufacturer's suggested retail price." About $10 billion has been allocated to the program.
The deal can be combined with other incentives. Credit unions in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois are participating today, but USA Today reports that "depending on the results, [the program] may be launched nationwide in early 2009, the credit union group said."
For now, the loans are only available on GM products. But Autoblog reports, "Ford and Chrysler are also reportedly talking with the MCUL to offer attractive pricing options."
Kicking Tires adds, "The program is set to run today through June 5, 2009. If you purchase a car before Jan. 5, 2009, however, there will be another $250 in cash back. This deal is only eligible to members of the credit unions, but anyone who opens an account with a credit union will be qualified as well."
It might be a good idea to polish your credit score before applying. A call the MCUL officials reveals that the credit score needed to qualify for the loans varies depending on the judgment of each individual credit union in the League - and standards have been tight nationwide this year. Check out the 5 Ways to Make Sure You Qualify for New Car Financing. You might also want to read our tips for getting the best deal in a bad market.