CULA Credit Union Leasing of America
credit union leasing


Welcome to CULA’s Lease Education Center. For over two decades we’ve been providing credit unions and banks with innovative, competitive leasing finance products.

Below you will find tutorials to assist you with every day lease program issues.

Interested in expanding your product offerings? Check out one of our webinars on a new finance product!

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Additional questions?

Any question you have can be answered by our knowledgeable support staff.

  • For questions regarding auto lease origination, please or call 800-878-5400, x0 and ask for a Credit Union Service Manager.
  • For questions regarding auto lease end, please or call 800-878-5400, x0 and ask for a Customer Service Representative.

Tutorials Section


Acquisition Fee – the lessor fee, which is charged to the lessee and is typically included in the gross capitalized cost. This is commonly referred to as the “bank” fee.

Adjusted Capitalized Cost – this is the amount financed after all reductions have been made. This is also referred to as “net cap cost.”  This is equivalent to the “loan amount” on a conventional loan.

Base Monthly Payment – is comprised of the monthly lease charge and the monthly principal reduction (it’s like principal and interest).

Cap Cost Reduction – this is the leasing terminology for a down payment. It is a reduction in the cap cost of the vehicle.

Gross Capitalized Cost – also called “cap cost.” This is a leasing term for the sales price of the vehicle, including dealer-installed equipment plus any fees financed. This is the total amount, before any deductions such as a down payment are applied.

Hard Adds – No dealer installed or aftermarket items are allowed into the Residual Value Calculation.

Lease Term – the number of months for which the vehicle is leased.

Lessee – an individual who is leasing a vehicle. The lessee leases the vehicle from the lessor, and the loan amount is financed through the lender, or lien holder.

Lessor – the registered owner of the vehicle.

Lien holder – the lender who finances the loan.

Mileage – variations include but are not exclusive to 12,000, or 15,000 miles or more annually. Most leases are customizable, with 15,000 being the standard. If an individual wants to drive more than 15,000 miles pre year, they pay for the additional miles upfront by the residual value being reduced to reflect the additional miles to be driven.

Money Factor – the value used to calculate monthly lease charges. This is similar to an interest rate. It is expressed as a five-digit value, such as .00299. A money factor is not an interest rate, and is simply another form of calculating finance charges that is applicable in the lease industry.

MSRP – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. This is commonly referred to as the window sticker, or “sticker price.”

Residual Percentage – the percentage used to calculate the residual value of a vehicle. The residual percentage is determined by a variety of variables such as Year, Make, Model and Trim Level of the vehicle, as well as the lease term and annual miles.

Residual Value – the estimated future value of a vehicle. The residual is set by the lessor company, who also guarantees the residual value.

Sales Tax – tax is based on the base monthly lease payment because the lease is a rental agreement. In most states, sales tax is paid monthly, but in some states, sales tax is calculated on the monthly payment, but paid entirely at lease inception.

Soft Adds – additional costs that do not increase the MSRP of the vehicle.
Mechanical breakdown insurance is an example of a soft add.


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