The nation's largest auto lenders capped off 2019 with strong origination growth amid shrinking new-vehicle sales.
Ford Motor Co.'s lending arm posted its best results in nine years, while Santander Consumer Holdings USA set record-high auto originations for the year. Originations slid for General Motors, meanwhile, as a result of complications from an incentive program.
Here's how the nation's top lenders fared last quarter:
Capital One Financial Corp.'s auto origination volume rose 27 percent in fourth-quarter 2019. For full-year 2019, origination volume was up 11 percent to $29.3 billion. Total auto loans increased $1.4 billion, or 2 percent, to $59.9 billion.
Chase Auto boosted originations, which included loans and leases, 21 percent in the fourth quarter to $8.5 billion. Chase's total auto volume of $83.5 billion was flat from fourth-quarter 2018.
Wells Fargo Auto juiced originations 45 percent in the fourth quarter, mainly on growing business following restructuring changes. Originations of $6.8 billion helped fueled the lender's total auto volume, which grew 6 percent to $47.9 billion last quarter.
Ally Financial Inc.'s auto originations slipped slightly in the fourth quarter, driven down by fewer used-vehicle originations, despite substantial gains in lease originations and loans for General Motors vehicles. Ally originated $8.1 billion in automotive contracts in the fourth quarter, a 1.2 percent year-over-year dip. Ally's total auto loan volume, meanwhile, reached $72.4 billion in the quarter, up 2.6 percent from prior-year figures.
GM Financial's loan originations plunged 35 percent in the fourth quarter as a new incentive program offered by General Motors got off to a slower start than anticipated. Loan originations at GM's captive finance company fell to $5.5 billion in fourth-quarter 2019, while lease originations rose 3 percent to $5.4 billion. Full-year loan originations fell 4 percent to $25.2 billion, while lease originations dipped 1 percent to $22.4 billion.
Ford Credit posted its best results in nine years, with 2019 earnings before taxes of $3 billion for 2019, up 14 percent from 2018. The captive's adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of about $630 million, meanwhile, presented a 5 percent drop from prior-year numbers. Ford Credit, according to Bloomberg research, generates about half of Ford Motor Co,'s profit, up from 15 to 20 percent as recently as 2016.
Santander Consumer Holdings USA reached all-time high auto originations of $31.3 billion loans and leases for full-year 2019, up 9 percent from 2018. Total auto originations of $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter marked a 9 percent hike, with loan originations from Chrysler Capital up 29 percent to $3.2 billion. Lease originations for Chrysler Capital dropped 15 percent year-over-year, to $1.8 billion in the quarter.