Auto Loan FAQ’s

About First Californian Federal Credit Union

Q: Who is First Californian Federal Credit Union?
A: First Californian Federal Credit Union is an local credit union that services anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, attends school, or associates in Salt Lake County, Utah and credit union members can also invite their relatives to join, even if they do not associate in Salt Lake County. We specialize in financing and servicing auto loans for customers with less than perfect credit.

Q: Do you offer refinancing?
A: Yes. First Californian gives you the opportunity to lower the payments on your current auto loan. Apply now.

Q: Do you offer leasing?
A: At this time we do not offer leasing.

Q: Do you finance RVs, trailers or motorcycles?
A: Yes. Visit for information about financing an RV, and for information and rates for motorcycle financing.

Q: Does First Californian offer other types of loans – like personal loans, or boat/watercraft loans?
A: Yes. Visit for information about financing an RV and information and rates for motorcycle financing.

Q: Will I get a discount on my auto loan if I’m an existing First Californian customer?
A: Yes, we offer discounts for GoldStar Members.

Q: How do I apply for financing through First Californian?
A: Apply online using our secure application. We are able to accept applications over the phone, by mail, fax or in person.

Q: When should I apply?
A: You should submit your secure online application to First Californian when you are ready to buy a car. You will receive a loan decision from one of our skilled Loan Officers. Approvals are valid for 30 days.

Q: How much should I apply for?
A: We suggest you apply for an amount greater than what you think you’ll need to give yourself flexibility with your purchase, and to cover the vehicle sales price, taxes, licensing, registrations, various insurances and additional products. You are under no obligation to activate your loan after you are approved.

Q: Can a co-borrower be part of the loan?
A: Yes. We may be able to include an additional borrower on the loan.

Q: Who sees my loan application?
A: Your application will only be reviewed by parties involved in the funding of your loan.

Q: How soon will I know if my loan application is approved?
A: It may take up to 24 hours, but most decisions happen in minutes.

Q: How is my interest rate determined?
A: Several factors influence the interest rate you will be offered, including your personal credit history and Loan financing costs. Interest rates can change, so apply today.

Concerning my credit – bad credit, bankruptcy

Q: What if I have less than perfect credit or a bankruptcy?
A: First Californian offers a range of products to meet the needs of customers across the credit spectrum. If you have less than perfect credit, we will work to approve you. You must submit a complete credit application to initiate the lending process. Please visit First Californian application page to apply. Apply here.

Concerning the loan – type, term, interest rate

Q: What type of auto loan can I get?
A: First Californian offers financing for the purchase of a vehicle from a franchised dealer within your state of residence, purchase from a private owner, or refinancing your current auto loan. Apply now

Q: How much can I borrow?
A: The maximum amount you can borrow is based on your application. Key factors include your current income, financial obligations and credit history.

Q: What rates do you offer (APR)?
A: The annual percentage rate (APR) for a loan is based on the information contained in your loan application and other information provided by credit reporting agencies. View our Rates

Q: I see ads for rates as low as 0.9% APR. Do you offer rates like this? If I can get special rate financing at the dealership, why should I finance my vehicle with First Californian?
A: Special rate programs can be attractive if they are offered for the vehicle you want and have the appropriate terms. However, sometimes these loan terms are restrictive. Also, dealers may offer cash rebates as an alternative to a lower interest rate. Choosing the cash rebate and financing with First Californian may be more attractive to you.

Q: What terms do you offer (months)? What if I want a shorter term?
A: Our approvals are structured with the term you prefer but to First Californian term limits. If you wish to pay the loan back sooner, you are free to do so. The loan is a simple interest loan and carries no penalty for early payment.

Q: What is a simple interest loan?
A: Simple interest is a method of allocating monthly loan payments between interest and principal. The amount of your payment allocated to interest is calculated based on your unpaid principal balance, the interest rate on your loan, and the number of days since your last payment. For example, if we receive a payment and it has been 15 days since your last payment, you will be charged 15 days of interest on the unpaid principal balance of your loan. The remainder of your payment is credited to principal and reduces the unpaid principal balance on your loan.

Q: How is interest calculated?
A: The amount of interest depends on the interest rate, the amount of money borrowed (principal) and the length of the time the money is borrowed. The formula for calculating simple interest is: Interest = Principal x Rate x Time. First Californian loans are all simple interest, meaning you don’t pay interest on interest (compounding). You can pay off the loan whenever you want, without a penalty. Also, any extra payment applies to the principal.

Concerning the car/SUV/truck/van I want to buy

Q: What type of vehicles do you finance?
A: First Californian finances vehicles that are of any age depending on the condition of the vehicle. Apply now

Q: What if I have a trade-in? What if I still owe money on the trade-in? What if I owe more than the trade-in is worth?
A: If you trade in your vehicle when purchasing another vehicle from the dealer, the dealer will handle the payoff. After you negotiate the price of the vehicle and the price of your trade, the dealer will charge or credit you the difference between the value of your trade-in and the payoff amount on your loan. A negative or “upside down” trade occurs when the dealer offers you less than what you owe on the vehicle you are trading. In the case of a negative trade-in, you will need to pay the difference or roll the amount into your new loan – as long as it fits within the Loan-to-Value (LTV) guidelines of your First Californian loan approval. Apply now

After you apply

Q: How will First Californian notify me of the decision about my application?
A: All primary applicants will receive contact either by email or by one of our Loan Officers that provides instructions for obtaining information about the loan approval, amount, and terms. If your loan is approved, you will receive instructions for obtaining and using your loan package. If we are unable to approve your loan application, you will receive a notification and letter explaining the decision.

Q: How soon should I expect a decision about my application?
A: It may take up to 24 hours, but most decisions happen within minutes.

Q: Why was I declined?
A: Credit decisions are based on the information you submitted in your application and a review of your credit history. If you have questions about a loan decision, e-mail us at

After you are approved

Q: What happens after I get approved? How do I buy a car?
A: Upon receiving your approval – usually within minutes after applying – you will receive instructions for finalization of your First Californian loan. Your Loan Officer will explain your loan structure, terms, usage, and the required documents necessary to finalize your vehicle purchase. Apply now

Q: My First Californian approval will expire soon. What should I do?
A: It is important that you activate your loan and finalize your vehicle purchase prior to the expiration so that First Californian can guarantee your rate. Once your approval expires, you will need to reapply.

Q: What if the dealer doesn’t want to accept my First Californian financing?
A: If for any reason the dealer is reluctant to proceed with finalizing your loan through First Californian, call us toll-free at 1.855.292.8328

Q: I would like a higher loan amount. Do I need to re-apply?
A: Contact us toll-free at 1.855.292.8328 during business hours. Our loan specialists will review your application and determine if you qualify for a increased amount.

Q: What if I don’t find a car immediately? How long is my loan approval valid?
A: Loan approvals are valid for 30 days. If you do not use the loan by the expiration date, you will need to resubmit your application. Apply now

Q: Where do I send insurance information?
A: Insurance coverage is mandatory. Your contract includes a requirement to maintain an insurance policy on your vehicle that provides comprehensive and collision coverage, and to have a Loss Payee and Additional Insured Endorsement. Please make sure this information is correctly disclosed on the policy. Please call toll-free at 1.855.292.8328 to update your policy information at any time.

Mail insurance information to:
First Californian Federal Credit Union
PO Box 1050
West Jordan Utah, 84084

At the dealership

Q: What is the First Californian voucher?
A: Your First Californian approval voucher shows the dealer your approved maximum loan amount. The dealer will use this document in finalizing your loan purchase paperwork and transaction.

Q: What if the Dealer Finance Manager wants to send my loan through their direct channel to First Californian?
A: We are part of the indirect program and fully accept loans sent through this facility.

Q: Will indirect program change my loan approval?
A: It is unlikely that your approval will change unless we are running a loan special with that specific dealership.

Q: What if the Dealer Finance Manager wants to send my loan to another finance company or credit union?
A: Insist to your Finance Manager that you are a part of First Californian and it is with us, your primary financial institution, that you want to be financed.

Q: What is a “loan to value” (LTV) ratio?
A: This is a number calculated by dividing the amount of the loan, by the vehicle value published in a recognized auto pricing guide – like those published by NADA or Kelley Blue Book. For example, if the NADA price for the vehicle you select is $10,000 and your LTV ratio is 105%, you can spend up to $10,500 (including taxes, licenses, registration, after-market accessories, warranties, etc.) as long as the entire amount is less than your maximum approved amount. The pricing guide used to value vehicles varies by state.

Have questions or want to open an account?

Open Account

Get Started

Find a branch nearby

Find a branch

Get in touch