ATLANTA — Manheim Automotive Financial Services and CU Direct Corp. announced they have partnered to provide MAFS Advantage to credit unions. According to officials, the program will work to enhance business relationships between credit unions and independent dealers.

Officials said credit unions can benefit from the protection and security features of the program, which guarantee vehicle title, ensure vehicle trade-ins are paid off and that all vehicle registration paperwork is successfully handled through each state's motor vehicle department.

"Manheim has a strong relationship with independent dealers and is positioned to provide credit unions a new market for growing their auto loan portfolios," explained Kathy Decker, vice president and general manager of MAFS.

"This program is designed to help independent dealers compete in today's challenging business environment by facilitating relationships with credit unions while providing credit unions with assurances that offer peace of mind," she continued.

Through the MAFS Advantage, credit unions will also have access to real-time dealer intelligence, including access to dealers' financial performance at auctions.

To drive credit union participation, executives said credit unions' lending programs will be marketed by MAFS through the program.

Officials expect the new product to go live to credit unions in the third quarter of this year.

"By offering the MAFS program to our credit union partners, we are providing the additional security and confidence they need to successfully expand their auto loan market share through the independent dealer channel," noted Evan Etheridge, national sales director for CUDL.

"Our growing relationship with Manheim has allowed us the opportunity to offer our credit unions a variety of programs to help them build their auto lending portfolios," he added.

Manheim and CUDL have had an ongoing relationship, under which Manheim manages the back end of participating credit unions' portfolios. CUDL also offers its clients access to Manheim's educational and training tools which cover the remarketing industry.

Additionally, executives said CUDL and Manheim's partnership allows credit unions to consolidate their vehicles at auction to get more attractive run times.

"Credit union sellers can take advantage of dedicated credit union lanes at Manheim auctions nationwide and a host of other services, including centralized nationwide repossession and remarketing management from Remarketing Solutions," executives concluded.