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Receives Gold Level California Award for Performance Excellence (CAPE)
And Governor’s Award for Excellence in California’s ‘Baldrige’ Quality Awards

(Riverside, Calif.) Feb. 11, 2008 – Auto Expert, a Riverside-based auto buying service and subsidiary company of Altura Credit Union, has been recognized by the California Council on Excellence (CCE) with a Gold Level California Award for Performance Excellence (CAPE). Auto Expert also received the prestigious Governor’s Award for Excellence, which has been awarded to only two other organizations in the last 13 years.

Auto Expert provides auto locating and auto buying services for members of 21 partner credit unions in Southern California, and the general auto-buying public.

CAPE is California’s state-level affiliate of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. It was one of 12 winning organizations this year, and one of only two recognized with the top award, as well as the smallest company recognized with a Gold Award.

In addition, to the Gold Award, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Office chose to honor Auto Expert with the distinguished Governor’s Award of Excellence. Mary Ann Pranke, CAPE Awards chairwoman, explains, “The Governor’s Award for Excellence is the highest honor that we bestow to applicants and is a tremendous accomplishment. The Gold level award is the highest distinction that any organization can receive in the State of California. Since 1994, we have had 218 award recipients, but only 11 Gold winners, and of those, only two organizations received the Governor’s Award prior to Auto Expert. This demonstrates the level of excellence that Auto Expert has achieved as a business”

“It is an incredible honor for Auto Expert to receive both the Gold CAPE Award and the Governor’s Award,” said Auto Expert President Jennifer Binkley. “The application process assessed Auto Expert against standards that define world class organizations. As a small company of 29 employees, we are especially proud of this recognition. Our dedication to delivering a warm and positive auto-purchasing experience to every member, every time is acknowledged by the award.”

The CAPE program recognizes organizations that demonstrate superior performance in seven key business areas, including: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement and knowledge management, human resources, process management and business results.

“We use the same criteria for evaluating organizations as the national quality  program,” said Pranke. “The rigorous Baldrige criteria are recognized internationally as the hallmark for performance excellence and allow us to select award winners to serve as role models for all California organizations,” she added.

“I extend my congratulations to all of the distinguished award winners,” said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Thank you for your adherence to the highest standards of excellence and I wish you every future success.”

This is the second time Auto Expert has been recognized with a CAPE Award. Last year, the first year it applied, Auto Expert received a Silver Award.
All CAPE Award recipients will be honored at the 14th Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony in March in Long Beach on March 28, 2008.

Riverside-based Auto Expert provides auto-locating services to 21 credit unions, collectively serving more than 692,345 members and totaling more than $3.8 billion in combined assets. Auto Expert is a subsidiary of Altura Credit Union. Auto Expert’s performance excellence has been recognized with a 2007 California Award for Performance Excellence (CAPE) Gold Award, the highest recognition in the state, and the Governor’s Award for Excellence, and in 2006 with a CAPE Silver Award.  For more information about Auto Expert, visit or
call 1-800-359-4567.