A combination of increasing consumer confidence and less-aggressive financing incentives from manufacturers continue to help credit unions grow their vehicle loan portfolios.
CUNA Mutual Group says credit union-held member vehicle loans up 19% from low point in March 2011.
Personal loans still offer niche, participants say, and a way to serve members while competing with payday lenders.
Annual vehicle loan portfolio growth rose to 10.4% in July, which was the strongest growth since September 2005, CUNA economist says.
"Be ever vigilant," CUNA Mutual Economist Dave Colby says of potential economic shudders ahead.
However, credit cards, unsecured loans and student loans were also in positive territory, noted the report, which tracked data through June.
This preview from our Aug. 28 print edition looks at what may be a shrinking credit union market for $600 and under loans.
Despite the apparent financial pain to cover the underwriting costs of small loans under $600, some credit unions still feel there is a segment of their membership that rely on this type of financing. Others don't.
If the latest data is any indication, members are still sticking with their credit unions when it comes to building their savings nest eggs.
CUNA Mutual economist says making new loans to members should remain top priority.