After the collapse of credit in the recession, lenders have returned strongly to financing auto sales. Car dealers are finding lenders eager to finance their deals, including subprime loans.
In fact, so many auto lenders are trying to sign up to buy indirect loans from Findlay Automotive Group in Henderson, Nev., that it's almost a nuisance.
"Apparently, their pockets are full of cash," says Tyler Corder, CFO of the 27-store group. "We've got lenders lined up to sell you on new dealer agreements. It's almost distracting. They come in here want-ing you to sign up. Frankly, I'm not interested in signing up every new lender that comes along."
After the financial collapse of 2008, lending dried up and credit standards tightened. Buyers couldn't be financed, so dealers lost deals.
Now, low rates for losses and delinquencies gradually have convinced auto lenders that it's safe to open the spigot. Wall Street analysts say investors are lining up to pump funds into the auto lenders, which means lenders have plenty of money to lend.
The result is a return almost to prerecession levels of credit availability for prime consumers. Credit availability for subprime customers is way up but still not at prerecession levels.
Says Bernard Silverstone, COO of Ford Motor Credit Co.: "The credit environment is pretty good right now. Most companies are reporting historically low credit losses. Certainly, we're in the same position. We're pleased with that."
In the first half of this year, Ford Credit's U.S. contract volume increased 15 percent to 481,000 units, including loans and leases on new and used vehicles.
Ford Credit said that in the second quarter its percent of losses for bad loans out of total receivables was a record low of only 0.08 percent.
On the subprime side, GM Financial reported that its loan and lease volume rose 16 percent in the first half to about $2.9 billion. Its losses dropped to only 2 percent of receivables in the first half, from 3.2 percent a year ago.
GM Financial CEO Dan Berce said the company had its "all-time best credit performance" in the second quarter of 2012, with losses of only 1.5 percent.