New service offers US credit unions a presence in national lending programmes

The system hopes to use market comparison sites to increase credit union membership

A new credit union service organisation has been set up in the US to offer credit unions a national presence in major online lending marketplaces.

The San Diego-based CU Lending Cooperative (CULC) says the idea is to cultivate credit union membership as well as growing loans, through comparison sites like Lending Tree.

When someone applies for a personal loan on an online marketplace, CULC software grabs the application and qualifies the person, before checking for a match among its member credit unions and making the applicant an offer.

CULC founder Michael Joplin told Credit Union Times the system uses a lot of non-FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) information to pre-qualify individuals “because LendingTree has already done a soft pull”.

“We take the basic outline of the individual and then fill in the blanks,” he said.

He said it takes a second and a half to determine whether a person then goes to the next step, where the CULC decision engine sends a loan quote back to Lending Tree.

The quote pops up on the searcher’s screen with a welcoming note and description of the nationwide co-operative group of credit unions. The system geolocates the person and forwards their application to the nearest CUSO member credit union.

After the loan is approved, the system then encourages the borrower to take out credit union membership. A offering a lower interest rate if they agree to an instant balance transfer from their existing financial institution.