The best interest rates are only a part - though a big part - of ALEC's advantage.
You might think that, if you need to take out a loan to buy a new car, it doesn't make any difference which lending institution you go to. Don't bank on it. Karen got a double dose of good fortune in early 2016 when she decided to buy a new car while making the transition from working woman to retiree.
Karen retired from AbbVie after a successful career in sales, so she knew something about financing a big purchase. Even so, she wisely solicited the facts, and her very well grounded opinion of where to get a car loan was dramatically reinforced.
She picked out her vehicle and then compared rates from ALEC and two other lenders. Do you think interest rates are so low these days that the difference is indiscernible?
Karen found plenty of discern: One lender was offering 2.89% APR financing; the second, 2.49% and ALEC, 1.99%. Financing through ALEC saved her $6.38 a month and $331.91 over the life of the 48-month loan compared to the lender with the lower rate; compared to the other, her savings from ALEC were $11.34 and $597.62. Why, she wondered, would anybody opt to pay $597.62 more? Or $331.13? or even $1?
What makes ALEC able to offer such a superior arrangement and save members so much money?
At ALEC, we operate in an entirely different culture from that of other financial-services providers. While other providers are typically created to drive profits for shareholders, a credit union is in business to help its members get ahead financially in a number of ways, including the lowest possible rates on loans and highest possible rates on savings. ALEC has no corporate shareholders it is trying to enrich. Instead, it returns its profits to its members, in the form of better rates and broader services. When you join a credit union, you immediately become a beneficiary of the organization. ALEC is on your side in every transaction.
We mentioned Karen's double dose of good fortune. Not only did she save all that money on her car loan, during the process of helping her arrange the best deal she could get, ALEC's loan representatives, always attentive to their members' best interests, uncovered a mistake in Karen's credit rating in one of the major credit bureau's reports. Correcting the error means her rating was restored to the superior level she had always enjoyed.
That, too, is part of the culture of ALEC: the best loan and savings rates augmented by a genuine personal concern by everyone in the organization, from CEO Joseph Trosclair on down. In his words, "Our undivided attention is focused on improving our members' financial well-being and future."
As a member, Karen knew ALEC was the head of the class. But what a comforting and personally gratifying reminder. For all of us.