Annual vehicle loan portfolio growth rose to 10.4% in July, which was the strongest growth since September 2005.
Back then, manufacturers were pushing “buy like an employee” price discounting rather than subsidizing financing rates, wrote Dave Colby, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, in the company’s September Credit Union Trends Report, which tracked data through July.
At $69 billion, new vehicle loans were up 17% above their early 2012 low, but remained 24% below their January 2007 peak, according to the trends report.
A closer look at detailed Call Report data showed 60% of the gain in total vehicle loans from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter in 2013 was accounted for by the expansion of indirect loan portfolios, Colby noted.
Looking back to last year, Colby said he noted the milestone of new vehicle loan growth turning positive for the first time in almost five years. That portfolio segment was up 11.9% year-over-year or 7.0% year to date, he added.
Used vehicle gains drove one-third of total credit union loan growth. This segment is up 9.6% since July 2012 and 6.5% year to date, the data showed.