RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. --Even as credit union indirect delinquencies and charge offs for auto loans increased from 2006 to 2007, CUDL's Business Intelligence Report shows that these rates were still far below those suffered by banks and other financials.
Good news in a declining market, and there are more promising nuggets in the report as well. Like the fact that new members who joined at the dealership had similar age, income and credit score demographics when compared to current members who also financed indirectly. This demonstrates these borrowers are a desirable demographic and they can become full-users of CU products.
It was also found that CUs are using all available tools in their expanded kit in order to help members through the loan process. They are funding more types of vehicles, like motorcycles and RVs, and streamlining their Web resources, speeding up approvals and widening car search options as well.
Still, sales are seriously down, having reached their lowest point in nine years with just 16.1 million new vehicles sold in 2007, down from 16.5 million the year before. Blame the housing slump for that. National Automobile Dealers Association's Chief Economist Paul Taylor forecast new vehicle sales to be in the 15.5 million unit range for 2008.
A similarly dim view of used car sales is also predicted, which will likely make for a much more competitive market for funding loans. The captives tried to recapture as much as possible through incentives, including the popular import manufacturers Honda and Toyota. That has hurt the CU market share, said CUDL's report.
Overall, credit unions using the CUDL platform originated more used auto loans than new auto loans in 2007, their new to used ratio shifting from 50-50 in 2006 to 40 new-60 used in 2007.
Another surprise was found in leasing, which has gained in popularity as borrowers focus more on the monthly payment rather than the rate and length of term. For all intents and purposes, the captives have a hold on the leasing market, having originated 82.2% of all leases in 2007.
Once the bread and butter, the total CU market slice of auto lending has been down for two years running, falling from 18% in 2006 to 16.9% in 2007. One bright spot is that in five states--Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington--a credit union is the top auto lender.
But it's bad all over, including for banks and captives, as all suffered drops in volume. The only growth area was found in the finance companies that went from 22.5% in 2006 to 25.3% in 2007. That growth came in the subprime area, which tend to have higher delinquencies down the road than prime loans, but such finance companies typically earn their fees and profits up front. When a borrower defaults, it's likelier that the funding source of the loan takes the loss, which may explain why such funding is beginning to dry up now.
Some 15.2 million CU members had an auto loan with their CU as of year-end 2007. That number represents 17.1% of all members, a figure that is also down a bit from 2006.
The number of indirect auto loans is also down slightly, going from $70.7 billion in 2006 to $70.5 billion in 2007. Nearly 66% were point of sale arrangements with CU-provided funding to current members at dealerships. The rest (34.3%) went to new members who joined at the dealership or through a third-party. In the past two years, CUDL estimates that indirect auto loans added $5.1 billion to the CU portfolio. Two-thirds of credit unions with $50 million in assets (and above) carry indirect loans on their books.
The choices made by CU auto buyers through the CUDL platform may also shift, given the rising price of gasoline and recent drops in the sales of large autos, particularly SUVs and trucks. But for 2007 figures, they still rule, with the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 taking the top spots for vehicles, with the Chevy Tahoe coming in third. More economical choices follow: Toyota's Camry, Honda's Civic, then Accord, and CR-V. The Nissan Altima was eighth most popular and Toyota's Hybrid, the Prius, next, and the Ford Focus finishing the top ten popular choices. The Prius is the first hybrid car to make this list, noted CUDL.
A closer look at the demographics found the average income fro CUDL credit union borrowers was about $58,000 in 2007, down only slightly from the year before. The average age of a borrower was 42, a year below the overall age found by CNW Market Research. The most common age category was the 36-45 range. Fully two-thirds (66.6%) of all CUDL CU borrowers are between the ages of 26-55.
CUDL President Tony Boutelle stressed that CUDL is much more than an indirect loan capture program for creating new CU members. It's also a way to capture existing CU members who may bypass getting prequalified or approved through their CU before shopping for a car. The numbers bear that out, with more than one-third (37.6%) of CUDL loans going to existing members. That number is up in 2007 from the year before (30.4%). The remaining 62.4% went to members who joined a CUDL credit union through the dealership in 2007.