DALLAS -- If credit unions want to finance vehicles for ride-sharing or subscription services in the future, they should prepare now by getting into leasing.
That was the pitch to credit union representatives last week at the "Leasing and New Financing Models" session during a conference here sponsored by CU Direct, which runs a platform linking credit unions and dealerships to facilitate vehicle financing.
"Leasing is the entry point" for financing new vehicle-ownership models, in part because it's a way to learn how to set projected residual values for a vehicle at the end of a lease, said John Thomas, CEO of Credit Union Leasing of America.
CULA's indirect leasing program, run in partnership with CU Direct Connect and Centennial Lending, has originated 100,000 leases over the company's 30 years, its website says.
In the aggregate, credit unions have grown steadily and significantly in auto lending in recent years. In 2017, credit unions on CU Direct's network together ranked No. 1 in auto loan market share, followed by Toyota Financial Services and Capital One Auto Finance. Wells Fargo Dealer Services, which ranked No. 1 in 2016, fell to No. 9 after curbing loan originations in recent quarters. That figure tallies vehicle lending only; it excludes leases.