Auto lenders are rejecting more credit applications than they were a year ago, two automated credit application services report.
The statistics show credit remains tight even though the federal government has bailed out banks and finance companies.
Representatives from RouteOne and DealerTrack participated in a panel discussion on auto financing during the J.D. Power International Automotive Roundtable at the NADA convention in New Orleans.
Both services allow dealerships to tap networks of hundreds of auto lenders to fund car loans.
Raj Sundaram, senior vice president at DealerTrack, said lenders approved subprime customers 67 percent of the time in 2007, but only 14 percent — a record low — in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Mike Jurecki, CEO of RouteOne, said though credit applications rose last year, the approval rate dropped sharply from 2007.
"Credit is basically tightened up," said Jurecki.
"A lot of major lenders are pulling back and becoming regional lenders. Regional lenders are becoming state lenders. It's getting tough out there."