Credit union offers versatile vehicle loans Virginia Lyons April 30, 2010 The St. Thomas Employee Federal Credit Union offers vehicle loans on new or used cars, trucks and motorcycles at competitive rates.These loans can be used for a variety of reasons:Purchase of a vehicleRefinance of a vehicle that you already own but that is currently financed elsewhereCash to be used for any purpose, using the equity in a vehicle that is already owned free and clearThe CU will finance 100 percent of a new vehicle, up to a cumulative loan limit per member of $40,000 and will lend up to 90 percent of the National Automobile Dealers Association estimation of retail value of a vehicle for used vehicle loans. The CU subscribes to a business site offered by the NADA for these figures.For example, if the NADA reports that a vehicle is worth $10,000 (retail), the CU can lend up to $9,000 on that vehicle. If you are paying only $8,500, the CU can lend the entire purchase amount, or can even lend the full $9,000, allowing you $500 for any purpose; however, if you are paying $11,000, the CU still will lend only $9,000 and you will have to provide the difference.To calculate the NADA value, the CU will need to know make, model, year and mileage of the vehicle; additional original accessories may add to or subtract from the value. The vehicle identification number is very useful, although not necessary to find the value. Salvage vehicles cannot be financed at the CU.Loans can run up to six years for new vehicles, five years for used vehicles 2003 or newer, and four years for older models. Repayment can be processed conveniently through automatic payroll deduction from the UST payroll, or paid by check.Regular vehicle rates are based on the BEACON (credit) score of the applicant. Currently, the CU is running a spring loan special for applicants with a score of 700 or higher. The special rate is 4 percent for a five-year loan; 0.25 percent per year can be deducted for loans of shorter term, and 0.25 percent will be added for six-year loans. An ongoing hybrid special would reduce any vehicle rate by another 1 percent for purchase of a hybrid. To see the CU’s base rates, view the “Rates” section of the credit union website.As with any loan offered by the credit union, the CU is responsible to all its members to lend prudently and is subject to the National Credit Union Administration’s rules and regulations. BEACON score, debt-to-income ratio, employment status and past dealings with the CU all may be taken into consideration in the approval process.Any regular UST employees and immediate family members of employees are eligible to belong to the credit union. For more information, see the St. Thomas Employee Federal Credit Union website.