Editor's note: CUDL finished last year working with 1,074 credit unions with 41 million members. The number of members was misstated in an earlier version of this story.
Credit unions and other lenders are beginning to release data that confirm what the industry knows: Last year, when U.S. new light-vehicle sales rose 6 percent, was a very good year for vehicle lending.
Credit unions’ share of the U.S. automotive financing market continued to grow in 2014, says Credit Union Direct, of Ontario, Calif., which links dealerships’ F&I offices and credit unions.
Last year, a record $22.2 billion in financing was extended through credit unions that use the CUDL platform, a 36 percent increase, as those credit unions financed a record 1 million loans, up 30 percent, spokesman Bill Meyer told Automotive News during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco.
Almost all of that lending was for auto loans, with only a very small portion going to leases.
Based on its own data and that from Experian and other sources, CUDL estimates that credit unions collectively were the third-largest automotive financer last year, up from No. 6 a year earlier.
Experian has not yet formally released its data and rankings.
At the end of 2014, CUDL was working with about 11,400 dealerships, an increase of 1,800 or 7 percent from a year earlier. It signed up 68 additional credit unions during the year, bringing its year-end total to 1,074 credit unions with 41 million members.
Separately, CU Direct Connect, of Centennial, Colo., also reported strong numbers for 2014.
CU Direct Connect said its loan-application volume jumped 25 percent in 2014, while its affiliated credit unions closed the year with a 30 percent gain in loan originations funded through CU Direct Connect, to more than $1 billion.
In June, CU Direct Connect, which competes with CUDL, expanded beyond Colorado, adding an operation in Wyoming. It plans further expansion into other states in 2015.
In addition, Huntington Bank, of Columbus, Ohio, said it had its fifth straight year of record auto-loan production.
Huntington Bank’s loan originations rose 24 percent to $5.2 billion, the bank said. In 2014, the bank also added approximately 200 dealerships to its network, bringing the total to more than 3,700 dealerships in 17 states.
Huntington Bank, a unit of Huntington Bancshares Inc., which focuses on super-prime lending, said in a release that it responded to dealerships with an indirect loan decision within three seconds or less in 70 percent of the loans that were submitted to it.
“Consumers are benefitting from low interest rates, high trade-in values and a wide range of manufacturer incentives,” Huntington Auto Finance Director Rich Porrello said in that same release. “Add to that enthusiasm for an outstanding 2015 model year, falling gas prices and the ongoing economic recovery, and we’ll continue to see strong buyer demand throughout the year.”