Credit Union Leasing of America and CULA became trade names under the primary corporate entity; CU Leasing Corporation. Terry Bowdler, chairman and founder, incorporated the company in 1988.
Prior to the formation of CULA, credit unions and banks funded leases through lease brokers or banks. It was this observation that led Bowdler into months of research with the help of attorney, Cary Boyden, to develop a vehicle-leasing model for credit unions and banks. His goal was to overcome obstacles in governing regulations, GAP insurance and residual insurance that were holding credit unions and banks back from automobile leasing. Through Bowdler’s efforts, CULA became one of the first companies to offer direct automobile leasing to credit unions and banks and the first in the country to offer indirect automobile leasing to credit unions.
In December 1989, CULA started by offering a direct origination lease product exclusively to credit unions. The Indirect Dealer Origination Lease was first implemented in March 1994. Indirect leasing has become the foundation for The Credit Union Lease™ program and is extremely successful at generating revenue for credit unions and banks, diversifying the financial institution’s loan portfolio and providing alternative financing options to credit union and bank customers.
Seeing an opportunity for credit unions and banks to expand into a rapidly growing used vehicle market, CULA implemented the Used Vehicle Leasing program in 1997. The program has developed into an extremely competitive product offering greater financing options and flexibility for credit union and bank customers and a network of dealers. In 2007 CULA launched its first commercial lease product, the Credit Union Business Lease, offering credit union and banks yet another leasing finance product for their customers and members.
In an effort to streamline the leasing process between the financial institution, vehicle dealership and CULA, Seamless™ was brought online in 2002 after four years of development. Seamless™ is a proprietary internet-based program that quickly helps credit unions and banks validate leases and manage its lease portfolio. Working with numerous strategic alliances such as Symitar and CRIF Select, CULA continues to develop technology to bridge together multiple programs in an effort to streamline workflow for credit unions and banks.
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