Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of auto loan originations by credit unions on CU Direct's network in 2017.
Last year was a good one for captive finance companies.
Even excluding leases, where they traditionally dominate, captives did well, according to a ranking on auto loan originations released by CU Direct.
Credit unions on CU Direct's network climbed to No. 1 on the originations leader board, continuing a steady multiyear climb. Those credit unions, in the aggregate, posted a 16 percent rise in originations to 1.8 million auto loans, according to CU Direct and AutoCount data.
But elsewhere, the stars of the rankings were captives. Half of the top 10 lenders were captives, and their originations grew at significantly higher rates than originations at banks.
Toyota Financial Services, for example, jumped to No. 2 for 2017 from No. 6 in 2016, as its originations surged 41 percent to 1.1 million. American Honda Financial's originations soared 77 percent, carrying it to No. 6 from No. 8 a year earlier.
Nissan Infiniti Financial Services' originations climbed 47 percent, as it rose to No. 8 from No. 9. Ford Motor Credit Co.'s originations climbed 30 percent, as it held steady at No. 7.
In contrast, Wells Fargo Dealer Services, which had been No. 2 in 2016, dropped to No. 9 in 2017 as its originations tumbled 47 percent. Executives said late last year that they expect auto loan volume to continue to decline through the next few quarters, but because the lender has tightened its underwriting criteria, the overall loan quality will improve.
Capital One Auto Finance rose to No. 3 from No. 4, even though its originations slipped 2 percent. Ally traded places with Cap One, coming in at No. 4 for 2017 as its originations dropped 9 percent. Chase Auto Finance held onto its No. 5 ranking, as its originations fell 2 percent.