Wells Fargo Dealer Services is the perennial No. 1 in market share for used-car loans, according to Experian Automotive. As of the fourth quarter 2011, it was also among the top 10 new-vehicle lenders.
Experian Automotive said earlier this year that based on fourth-quarter results, banks are taking more risks, approving more long-term loans, shaving interest rates and doing more subprime business, all in pursuit of greater volume.
First-quarter results for 2012 are still being reported. Ally Financial -- the preferred lender for General Motors, Chrysler Group and Fiat in the United States, plus a few smaller brands -- is expected to report first-quarter results on Thursday.
Chase Auto Finance, the No. 2 bank in new-vehicle lending after Ally Financial, reported $5.8 billion in new and used originations combined for the quarter. That was a 21 percent increase from the first quarter a year ago.
Capital One Auto Finance said last week its first-quarter originations were up 66 percent from a year ago to around $4.3 billion. Its auto originations more than tripled since the first quarter of 2010, the company said.
Meanwhile, some regional banks that had cut back or even exited auto lending are also on the rise.
Huntington Bank of Columbus, Ohio, said its first-quarter auto originations were up 21 percent from a year ago to $962 million. The bank had stopped auto originations outside its six-state core footprint in 2009, but started expanding again in 2010 and continued expanding last year.