“While Ally remains our preferred lender, this new relationship with U.S. Bank will now give your customers a choice in lenders and will continue to allow you to write your leasing deals at the most competitive rates and residuals available in the market today,” the message said.
Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel declined immediate comment.
The move comes a month after Ally Bank, which is still Chrysler's preferred lender, announced it was opening leasing to a wider range of customers. Ally lowered the FICO score threshold for lease customers to 620 from 660. A 660 score is on the lower end of prime credit, while a 620 score is on the upper end of subprime.
Chrysler has gradually been rebuilding its leasing business after it collapsed during the credit crisis of 2008. In 2006, when Chrysler Financial was still Chrysler's captive finance company, leases accounted for about 22 percent of the automaker's new-vehicle sales transactions. After Chrysler Financial left the leasing business in 2008, along with most of Chrysler's lenders, the percentage of leases plummeted to under 1 percent of all sales by mid-2009.
Leasing has slowly come back since then, accounting for between 4 and 6 percent of Chrysler sales now.