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Tackling Inflation And The Auto Industry, Part 1: Protecting Your Credit Union From Car Market Volatility

Today’s larger loan balances and longer loan terms leave borrowers at risk of becoming upside down, which also increases risk for credit unions in their loan portfolios.

In today’s auto lending environment, a comprehensive and high-quality portfolio protection program is more important than ever and should include partnering with a provider that will pay the full loan balance instead of actual cash value (ACV).


Protecting Your Credit Union From Car Market Volatility

According to Scott Colbert, executive vice president and chief economist for Commerce Trust Co., there were 17,000 auto dealers in the United States in the second quarter of 2022, but there were only about 34,000 new vehicles on those dealers’ lots. That’s roughly 2 to 2.5 new vehicles per dealer.

Employees have returned to work amid a shortage of the auto parts necessary for the vehicles they drive to get there. New car inventory sits on hold due to a shortage of microchips and other supply chain issues. Some dealerships report their backorder for new vehicles ranges from a couple of months to five years! This has caused used car demand, along with sticker prices, to skyrocket.

According to J.D. Power, the average sales price of a new vehicle during the first six months of 2022 hit a record of $44,907 — 17.5% higher than just a year ago. Edmunds.com reported that 12.7% of borrowers who financed a new vehicle in June 2022 had monthly payments of $1,000 or more. And used cars are definitely not exempt from rising prices — the average monthly payment on a used car was $503 in the first quarter of 2022 — up from $413 for the same period in 2021, reports Experian.

Relief Is Not Yet In Sight

Analysts don’t expect auto prices to begin leveling off until late in 2023 or even into 2024. Unfortunately, people who need a car now don’t have the luxury of waiting for prices to decrease — they will pay whatever they can stretch to afford. To meet this demand, lenders are offering larger and larger loans for both new and used vehicles. This desperation in the car market has forced many borrowers into disproportionately high-cost auto loans — with recent higher interest rates adding to borrowers’ monthly payment burdens.

Borrowers Aren’t The Only Ones At Risk

Future market volatility has the ability to impact a vehicle’s perceived value between now and when a member pays off their loan. Today’s larger loan balances and longer loan terms leave them at risk of being upside down, with a vehicle worth considerably less than what they still owe.

As a result, this also increases risk for credit unions in their loan portfolios as they are providing loans to their members for vehicles with a hyperinflated value. If the collateral sustains damage or loss when a borrower is uninsured or underinsured, the credit union can also find itself “upside down,” with the claims amount it receives insufficient to cover its exposure.

The Good News

The solution? When you partner in a high-quality collateral protection program with State National, you can receive Waiver of Actual Cash Value (ACV) coverage — which means State National will pay the value of the entire loan amount remaining and not just a car’s value at the time of a claim.

In “normal” times, Waiver of ACV coverage is a valuable tool for decreasing risk in a lender’s portfolio. In times like these, when lenders are already being double squeezed by low net interest margins and increase in bad debt, it’s a vital part of a successful credit union’s risk mitigation strategy.

For more information on how this valuable solution can help your credit union, contact one of our specialists today!

To read the second article in this SNC Spotlight series, visit Part 2: Maintaining Your Competitive Edge.

Read Part 2 Today

Contact One of Our Specialist Today


This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
October 10, 2022

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