ORLANDO, Fla. — U.S. Equity Advantage, which offers automated bi-weekly processing of vehicle loans for buy-here, pay-here dealers, recently announced the release of a new, enhanced dealership Web site at www.866halfpay.com.

According to officials, dealerships can now accurately calculate and offer a bi-weekly payment option to all their customers with the integrated online tools and enrollment options.  

USEA's automated bi-weekly payment service has been producing much needed increases in F&I department profits for auto, powersports and RV dealers during these tough economic times, executives highlighted. 

One example comes from a Toyota Scion store that said it recently added more than $45,000 in additional profit to its F&I department by helping customers afford more than twice as many F&I products.

"Statistics have shown that dealerships utilizing USEA's Equity Advantage Program enable their customers to afford and purchase over 57 percent more F&I product on a biweekly payment option as opposed to a standard once a month payment option," noted William Lathrop, chief marketing officer with U.S. Equity Advantage. 

"Our business has exploded in this current economy with at least a 40-percent increase in transactions in just this first quarter of 2009," he continued.

The Equity Advantage Program, also known as "Half-Pay" or "Bi-Weekly," is a valuable payment service used as a standalone tool accessible free via the Web, or incorporated into any menu powered by MenuVantage, executives said.

This biweekly payment service is made available via an integrated banking relationship between U.S. Equity Advantage and Wachovia Bank North America.

The program can allow a customer to make car payments by having their checking or savings account debited a half payment amount every two weeks. Instead of making 12 monthly payments, the customer will make 26 half payments, which means that one extra car payment per year is applied to principal, reducing the term of the loan and interest paid.

By utilizing the Equity Advantage Program, a dealer can offer additional products to their customers while maintaining virtually the same monthly payment and keeping the loan payoff term essentially the same, executives suggested.

"We find biweekly to be a great way to maximize back-end profits and overcome term objections with customers. When we use the U.S. Equity Advantage plan effectively, we double our product sales on those deals and it's also beneficial when we're limited on what the banks will finance (because of the commissions paid by U.S. Equity)," explained Thomas Wright, director of sales and finance with Executive Auto.

"I am constantly reinforcing with the F&I managers in our eight stores the power of using this effective tool. We also get tremendous support from US Equity as a partner in our operations," he added.

The Equity Advantage Program is considered an "after-line 5" product, which means that regardless of how many products the dealership currently offers, it can add this one to the list without having to sacrifice another product.

Unlike other programs, US Equity Advantage does not outsource the customer payment process to finance companies. Once the customer's account is debited by its exclusive partner, Wachovia, US Equity Advantage personally oversees the account through settlement, officials pointed out.

Customers can feel confident in the fact that when they call (866) HALFPAY, they are speaking with an actual US Equity Advantage customer service professional. The company also has bilingual representatives.

Dealers using the program can log onto the Web site and view a personalized Dashboard. This is basically where a large dealership group can track all of its dealerships or an individual dealership can track its own commissions.

Dealers can also use the site as a standalone tool to enroll new customers or take advantage of its full integration with the MenuVantage Web-based system.