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Autos drive credit union lending
Friday, February 8, 2019 6:25 AM

Auto lending at U.S. credit unions was relatively robust in the third quarter, despite rising interest rates and slowing growth in the loan portfolio.

Up 10.8 percent annually, total auto lending expanded $35.8 billion over the year to $365.3 billion as of Sept. 30, 2018. This is the sixth consecutive year of double-digit growth in the third quarter. Total auto loan balances at credit unions have more than doubled since the third quarter of 2012, and auto lending continues to be strong despite growth slowing and interest rates rising in the overall loan portfolio. 

Credit union auto market share has grown 5.9 percentage points in the past five years to 20.6 percent as of Sept. 30, 2018. With the largest market share of any major loan product, auto loans are essential to balance sheet growth at credit unions. 

Growth in indirect lending continued its three-year decline and was down 3.8 percentage points year-over-year to 15.5 percent. Still, the financing option remains a major origination pipeline for credit union auto loans. Growth in indirect lending has outpaced total auto lending growth for the past seven years.