1st Time Auto Buyer Program

It's easier than it seems

Looking to get your very first car loan? First off, congratulations! We're as excited to help you purchase your first car as you are to own it. If you've got little-to-no credit and you're ready to embark on the purchase of your first vehicle, this program is for you. 


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Why get your first auto loan with Oregonians?

Our 1st Time Auto Buyer Program sets you up for success when it comes to financing your first car and your future vehicle purchases. The loan has manageable terms and a competitive rate to help you establish a credit history.


What are the loan terms? 

  • Maximum loan amount of $15,000
  • Maximum loan term of 60 months
  • 10% down payment required (cash or trade)
  • Finance no more than 90% of retail KBB or MSRP
  • Vehicle no more than 10 years old, with less than 100k miles

What are the qualifications?

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Minimum $1,500 monthly gross income1
  • One year on the job, or 2 years in the same line of work2
  • No derogatory credit or previous auto loans

To apply for the First Time Auto Buyer Program, you must be an Oregonians CU member (or Eligible for Membership). Click here for eligibility information. 1You will be required to provide proof of income. 2Seasonal or temporary work will not be accepted.


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Tips for first-time car buyers

  1. Talk to us before you shop.
  2. Take your time and research your options.
  3. Review the list of lending definitions.
  4. A good car doesn't have to cost a fortune.
  5. Never buy a used car without having it checked out by a mechanic.
  6. Check the cost of car insurance before you buy a car.


How much does insurance cost?

When you finance a car, insurance is required. There's no exact science behind what this cost will be, so it's important to get a quote on any vehicle you're considering purchasing. 


The good news is we're partnered with TruStage and Liberty Mutual to offer discounted car insurance to members. You can get a quote quickly and easily online; just start by entering your zip code.


get a car insurance quote


Lending definitions

There's a lot to think about when buying a car. How do I finance it? What do terms like “lienholder” and "collateral” mean? We've created this list to help explain certain definitions used in the lending proces­s­ so you can be fully informed about your auto buying decision before you buy.
A credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that represents the likelihood that you will pay your bills on time and repay your loans in full. Credit scores are calculated using information including:
  • Your payment history
  • How many loans you have open
  • How many loans you have paid in full and closed
  • The length of your credit history
There are many different credit scoring models, but the FICO (Fair Isaac Credit Organization) is one the most used, and also the score we use at Oregonians.
Interest is the cost you pay to borrow money. The lower the interest rate, the less your loan will cost you in the long-run. Interest rates are determined by several factors, including:
  • The government
  • The current economic situation
  • The financial institution giving the loan
  • Your credit score
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is the annualized representation of your interest rate.
The finance charge is the total amount you will pay in interest and fees over the life of your loan. You might purchase a car from a dealership for $10,000, but if you purchase the car with an auto loan, the total amount you pay will be more than $10,000.

For example, if your interest rate is 7% and your loan term is 60 months, the total amount you will have paid for the car will be $11,833; your finance charge would be:

$11,833 - $10,000 = $1,833
Collateral is any physical property you are offering your financial institution to secure your loan with, in case you don’t pay back the money you borrow. For an auto loan, it would be your car; for a mortgage, it would be your home.
The lienholder is the lender whose name is on your collateral title while you're still paying your loan. For instance, if you take out an auto loan from Oregonians Credit Union, we will be listed as the lienholder on your Oregon title for the vehicle until your loan is paid off.
Your total debt or DTI (Debt-To-Income) Ratio represents how much money you owe relative to how much income you receive. This ratio generally looks at your monthly debt (bills, rent, payments) compared to your monthly income.

For example, if you have three outstanding loans totaling $850 dollars in payments each month, and your income is $2,500 per month, your debt-to-income ratio would be:

$850/$2500 = 34% 

The lower this percentage, the better. Most financial institutions require your DTI to be below 50% to get a loan.
The loan term is the set length of time you have to repay your loan. Your initial loan amount, interest rate, and loan term will determine your payment amount. A good range for car loans is anywhere from 36 to 60 months. Although it will lower your payments, it's not advised to take a loan term over 60 months.

Remember: "loan term" and "loan terms" are two different things; the loan terms include the loan term and other characteristics of the loan, like interest rate, monthly payment, penalties, and repayment provisions.
When you have finally found the car you have been looking for, it’s easy to get pre-approved. With a pre-approved auto loan, you know how much you’ll qualify for before you visit the dealership. Plus, you’ll eliminate the expense and pressure of dealer financing.


To apply for the First Time Auto Buyer Program, you must be an Oregonians CU member (or Eligible for Membership). Click here for eligibility information. 1 You will be required to provide proof of income. 2 Seasonal or temporary work will not be accepted.