Auto Volume Slows as Lenders Pull Back, New Big Wheels Report Shows

Although loan volume has increased at a 40% pace since 2013 for the nation’s 10 largest lenders, the rate of growth is slowing as some lenders pull back, according to the newly released Big Wheels Auto Finance Data 2018.

Big Wheels is produced by Auto Finance News and ranks the top 100 auto financiers by outstandings and originations.

Wells Fargo Auto’s outstandings dropped $8.9 billion to $53.3 billion for 2017 — the largest drop in dollar amount among any lender. Overall, Wells Fargo fell to No. 8 from No. 5, as its total outstandings declined 14.3%.

Bank of the West saw the largest percentage drop, as its total outstandings declined 19% to $4.3 billion. The bank — which dropped to No. 34 on the list from No. 31 — “purposefully and strategically” decreased originations as it “retooled” its lending platform to prepare for the late 2018 launch of its preferred lender program, Preferred Lender U.S., the bank said.

Among the 19 auto lenders on the list whose portfolios declined year over year, three were top-10 lenders: Ally Financial Inc., American Honda Finance Corp., and Wells Fargo Auto. Ally’s portfolio declined 0.6% to $76.6 billion, while Honda Finance’s outstandings dropped 2.2% to $54.3 billion.

Banks lost marketshare for the fourth straight year, as they backed away from the auto finance sector in favor of higher yielding assets. Banks’ share of loan and lease outstandings dropped to 45.8%, from a high of 52.0% in 2011. Credit unions continued to build share, accounting for 9.3% of the market — a record for the segment.

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As Assistant Editor at Auto Finance News, William specializes in covering compliance, operations, and subprime issues. As a Brooklyn implant by way of Ohio, he's happy to discuss the triumphs and pitfalls of Cleveland sports as well as the latest music trends. Former bylines include Candy & Snack Today, Inverse, and The Tennessean.

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