Wachovia is top subprime auto lender
Melinda Zabritski: Many lenders that stayed in the subprime auto loan market saw higher share even if their high-risk loan volume dropped.
Capital One Auto Finance ranks second, closely followed by Toyota Financial Services in third place. Chase Auto Finance ranks fourth, and GMAC Financial Services and Ford Motor Credit Co. are tied for fifth place.
The Experian study of the nonprime and subprime auto finance segments -- which encompass credit scores of 550 to 679 -- marks the first time the research company has ranked auto lenders on the financing they extend to customers with substandard credit. Experian collected the data in the third quarter of 2009.
Some results are surprising: For example, Toyota Financial Services ranks high despite its historic focus on customers with good and excellent credit.
Wachovia's top rank is less of a surprise because the Experian data show it also ranks first in used-vehicle financing, which draws a larger share of customers with risky credit.
"For many of these top lenders, we've seen a big gain in market share, but they have decreased their overall distribution," Zabritski says. "The exception is Capital One, which has gained significantly in this space."
Capital One Auto Finance boosted subprime and nonprime business to nearly two-thirds of its overall loan portfolio, the data show.
By contrast, in the third quarter, the nonprime and subprime segments represented 29 percent of Wachovia's auto loan portfolio, down from 47 percent in the third quarter of 2008. Wachovia's market share among subprime lenders was 1.7 percent in 2008, but it ranked No. 1 in 2009 with a 6.9 percent share of that business.
Toyota Financial Services, Chase Auto Finance and GMAC Financial Services also increased their share of the subprime market while reducing their volume in the higher-risk loan segments.