Should you get a car loan through a credit union?

The data show that, more and more, auto buyers are shying away from big bank lenders and moving closer to credit unions. But why?

Studies on consumer auto financing show most buyers prefer to get their car and truck loans directly from auto manufacturers – mostly because they can cut a better deal, dollar-wise.

But the next preferred landing spot for auto finance consumers isn’t big banks – it’s credit unions.

For example, a new study from Wallet Hub shows that vehicle consumers “should start their search for financing with car manufacturers,” where they’ll find lending rates that are 44% below the industry average. Credit unions should “be next,” Wallet Hub reports, with lending rates 21% below industry average. Meanwhile, big bank auto lending rates are 10% above the industry average, while regional banks offer loans that are 25% higher than the industry average.

Maybe that’s one reason why credit union membership is growing so fast, as U.S. credit unions have added 4.6 million members in the past year (through June 2017), according to the Credit Union National Association, based in Washington, D.C. Credit unions had a grand total of 111.7 million members at the end of June, and continue to grow.

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