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As the largest state-chartered credit union in Maryland, SECU Credit Union has a strong commitment to serving their nearly quarter million members. SECU uses the positioning statement, "Better Banking. Better Service." to guide them in terms of both member service and the depth and breadth of their product lines. Like most credit unions, new and used automobile lending is a critical component of SECU’s overall financial picture. Additionally, indirect lending has grown tremendously for SECU and now represents a significant portion of their auto loan portfolio. To help them increase volume and efficiency, SECU turned to one of the nation's leading providers of financial products and services to credit unions: The Aimbridge Group.

Prior to using Aimbridge’s outsourced Web-based system, SECU relied on a traditional fax-based system. Michael Walstrum, SECU’s Application Support Manager, explained, "We wanted more control of the entire process and a more streamlined system that eliminated duplicate data entry." Michael Gordy, SECU’s VP of Lending, concurred. "We were missing out on market share with the old system and it didn’t offer a Web interface or instant decisioning." After much due diligence and research, SECU – working through their CUSO (Credit Union Service Organization) called The Credit Union Auto Loan Network™ – signed on with Aimbridge Indirect Lending, a division of The Aimbridge Group, to use their state-of-the-art indirect lending and instant decisioning platform.

Walstrum was tasked with integrating the Aimbridge platform into the credit union’s internal managed core system. Through a VPN (virtual private network), Aimbridge sends XML (extensible markup language) data directly into SECU’s core system to automatically book approved auto loans. This sophisticated and automated system includes not only application information, but co-signer data, collateral data and new- member setup information. Walstrum noted, "We had a very fast rollout time and the Aimbridge team was easy to work with. Their technical support folks are very knowledgeable and we always get a fast turnaround time from them."

Like credit unions everywhere, SECU covets new members and they have developed an innovative way to help sign up new members at auto dealerships. Aimbridge is handling all of the required fraud checking in the background. They are also taking care of Quality Control on the applications so that the dealers can settle the deal on the spot and receive their money via an ACH transfer. What used to take an hour or more is now done in just a few minutes for those members who are automatically approved by the standards that SECU has input into the Aimbridge system.

For those members whose credit may not be stellar, SECU has loan analysts watching the queue for those who have been referred for manual review. Because both the dealers and the credit union are working from one common Web-based platform, communications are rapid and everyone is always "on the same page" about the status of a loan application. The Aimbridge system will highlight why the member wasn’t instantly approved which helps make the loan analyst’s job much easier. Gordy pointed out, "We strive to render a decision in 30 minutes or less. It is really an excellent system and has been well received by our Lending Department and the dealers."

When it comes to support, Gordy agreed with Walstrum: "Aimbridge’s customer service is solid – they really stand behind us as a strategic partner." Tasked with managing not just indirect lending, but the entire consumer lending department with over 75 employees, Gordy appreciates Aimbridge’s comprehensive reporting capabilities that keep him informed of his team’s progress at all times. "It is a truly valued relationship, and I give Aimbridge a 100% endorsement," he concluded.