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DONNA HARRIS

Let's hope credit unions know what they're doing

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News

I've seen in online F&I discussion groups that some credit unions are becoming fairly aggressive in making loans to customers with risky credit.

That's surprising because credit unions have largely been prime lenders, financing customers with good credit. It takes a good deal of expertise to write loans for people in the subprime credit category. Institutions that lack the background in subprime can get burned.

Because of their stricter underwriting standards, most credit unions avoided the subprime mortgage mess of a few years ago and had money to lend during the credit crisis when other institutions didn't.

Credit unions stepped up to write auto loans during the downturn, in some cases working with auto manufacturers to provide finance incentives.

So now, as some credit unions take a leap into the subprime business, I sure hope they know what they're doing.

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