Categories
Business Growth

Choices Matter

Everyone likes choices, and consumers looking to secure financing for a vehicle are no different. When shopping for the best auto loan, they look at rates, but that’s not all. They’re also looking for value-added options to provide greater security in their decision, especially in today’s turbulent economic times.

So, how are credit unions faring?

According to S&P Global Intelligence, U.S. credit unions grew their auto loan portfolios by more than $6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, reporting a total balance of $408.21 billion at the end of the period. Breaking that down, new auto loans at credit unions amounted to $143.20 billion at year-end 2021, up from $142.86 billion at the end of the previous quarter. Used car loans increased 2.2 percent quarter-over-quarter and 10.2 percent year-over-year to $265.01 billion.

Auto loan trends callout

Categories
Economy

The Fed’s Impact on Auto Lending

2022 has kicked off with some very mixed signals. While corporate earnings and retail auto sales closed out the 2021 fiscal year with strong numbers, the stock market has been on a roller coaster ride, and labor and supply chain issues continue to stifle growth. Adding to the confounding picture is the rate of inflation. At its current rate – 7.04 percent – most economists and investors do not expect inflation to return to anything like the double-digit levels that prevailed in the early 1980s. However, the rate of inflation and the contributing indices will still have an impact on auto lending in 2022.

Let’s look a little deeper into the details. The U.S. economy grew 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, a 6.9 percent annual rate and its largest one-year jump since 1984. While impressive, the expansion reflects the depth of the damage inflicted by the pandemic in 2020/2021.

From a consumer standpoint, the rate of inflation is reflected in both the consumer price index and the personal consumption expenditure index — each climbed to a 39-year high last year. The cost of goods and consumers’ consumption of those goods has a direct correlation with inflation and purchasing power. To put it simply, you would have to spend 7.04 percent more money in 2022 than in 2021 for the same item.

Categories
Economy

Economic Indicators Aid Forecasting

As we move through the second half of 2021, there are some economic indicators which should be considered when developing strategies for an auto lending portfolio in 2022.

According to Bankrate data as of June 30, 2021, the U.S. average rate for a 60-month new auto loan started the year at 4.24 percent and has dropped to 4.18 percent.  Similarly, rates on a 36-month used vehicle loan began at 4.53 percent and declined to 4.49 percent. The Federal Reserve has also signaled that it intends to keep interest rates low for the remainder of 2021 – and possibly into 2022.

Unemployment and growing debt are also important economic indicators to watch. According to Experian, the average annual percentage rates (APRs) on used and new car loans were 21.07 percent and 14.66 percent, respectively, for individuals with credit scores between 300 and 500. That compares with used and new car loan APRs of 3.71 percent and 2.41 percent, respectively, for those with top-tier scores between 781 and 850.