Maybe it’s something in the water, or perhaps it’s know-how bred in a state where almost everyone has or did have a relative or friend in the auto industry.

Despite Michigan’s unemployment rate of just over 14%, Michigan First Credit Union in Lathrup Village, outside of Detroit, posted 130% growth in auto loans in the first quarter of this year. In January alone the credit union closed on 75 car loans, more than triple that expected in what is traditionally a slow month even when auto sales are brisk. In just a day and a half in May, an on-site sale at Michigan First headquarters brought in 81 loans totaling more than $1 million.

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