In 2015, the automotive industry had its best year in more than a decade. Industry analysts are predicting another banner year for car buying in 2016; the economy is strong and the U.S. auto industry is looking to shatter its previous production records. GrooveCar polled 75 credit unions from across the U.S. to discuss areas of loan growth, terms, opportunities and member online research habits, as well as posed the question: How do you plan on attracting members in 2016?

Overall, credit unions polled experienced increased growth over 2014. The largest group, one third of the credit unions, reported increases in the 5% to 10% range, followed by 17 credit unions reporting a 0% to 4% increase over 2014. Of the remaining credit unions, 12 witnessed a 10% to 15% growth, and 10 reported growth of 15% to 25%. Interestingly, seven credit unions experienced growth of 25% or higher, while another four actually saw a decrease since 2014.

Those polled reported they saw the highest growth in pre-owned and used vehicles, followed by new vehicle purchases and leasing. While leasing remains the single greatest area of growth for many credit unions, its success is confined to large populous regions. Leasing on a national level accounts for 28% of new car sales, however in some regions of the nation, that number can be as high as 60% or more.

Auto loan concentration was spread out over four categories. When asked to rank highest to lowest areas of concentration, credit unions ranked borrowers as follows: Super prime, prime, near prime and subprime. Concentrating on borrowers with a credit score of 781 or higher remained a priority for 37% of those polled, however, prime was very close behind with 33% ranking this group as their highest priority.

The 60-month loan term was still the most popular, with 49% of credit unions listing this term, followed closely by the 72-month loan, which was reported as most popular by 43% of credit unions. In third place was the 84-month term, followed by the 48-month term and 96-month term.


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