BERKELEY, Calif. (3/25/09)--Cooperative Center FCU will finance 100% of the purchase price of a ZENN electric car at a local auto dealership with fixed interest rates as low as 5% for those with good credit. “We felt it was good for the environment and good for consumers as well,” said Gary Bell, Cooperative CEO (ContraCostaTimes.com March 14). A demo model of the $19,000 car, which goes 35 miles between charges, attracted a lot of members who swarmed around the vehicle in the credit union’s lobby, the newspaper said. Obtaining financing for vehicle purchases is getting tougher--vehicle financing is down 32% compared with a year ago, according to Experian Automotive. Credit unions such as Cooperative are becoming “safe havens” for borrowers who are having a harder time obtaining car loans from banks battered by the tough economy, the paper said. “At this point, the credit union industry is solid,” Karen Dorway, president and director of research for Bauer Financial, told the paper. BauerFinancial is a firm that analyzes banks and credit unions. Credit unions are in better shape than large banks, so they have money available for vehicle financing, Chinton Talaati of online auto website Edmunds.com, told the paper. “Credit unions are emerging as one of the first places to look when financing a vehicle,” he added.