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CULA Originates 50,000 Leases for $2 Billion in 2021
Indirect vehicle leasing leader contributes to credit unions’ increasing share of leasing market, achieves single-year record for lease originations through credit union partners, and enjoys exponential growth in dealer partnerships
San Diego, CA – January 26, 2022 – Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA) achieved $2 billion in lease originations in 2021, a single year record, the Company announced today. This record is the result of originating 50,000 leases in 2021, also a company first.
In October, for the first time in CULA’s 34-year history, the indirect vehicle leasing leader exceeded 100,000 active leases in its portfolio, which has nearly tripled in five years to $3.8 billion. CULA offers leasing through credit unions in 17 states, adding six more states in 2021 alone. More than 30 credit unions are currently active on CULA’s innovative leasing platform.
CULA’s record growth came during year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, during an increasingly difficult market in which inventory constraints led to record high vehicle prices.
Leasing proved a more affordable, more flexible option for car buyers. It was especially beneficial for credit unions, who increased their share of auto loans and leasing during the last year. In fact, leasing is a “critical” option according to Experian, who recently reported that “leasing will continue to remain an important option for those looking to get a new vehicle with a lower monthly payment.”
“We have never seen an auto market like this and, while 2022 promises to have its challenges, as we enter a new year on the heels of a record-breaking year, we are optimistic about the future – thanks in no small part to our extraordinary credit union and dealer partners,” said Ken Sopp, President of CULA.
“With leasing’s flexible terms, and payments on average $109 less than loan payments, we look forward to supporting our credit union partners as they help even more members into new vehicles in 2022. We also look forward to our continued work with our innovative auto dealer partners as they have a measurable impact in extending leasing’s benefits to car shoppers. Vehicle leasing, we believe, is the perfect auto lending product, for consumers, auto dealers, and credit unions alike.”
Sopp noted that even in a shrinking market, credit unions generated 20.2% of total auto loans and leases during Q3 2021, higher than the pre-pandemic share of 19.6% in 2019’s third quarter.
“Leasing matters for credit union members, and our record-breaking numbers for 2021 prove it,” continued Sopp.
Robert Cashman, CEO of Metro Credit Union, whose credit union began leasing on CULA’s platform in 2021 explained: “Leasing is quickly emerging as an important option for car buyers who are entering a vehicle sales market with constrained inventory and record high prices.” Cashman continues, “We wanted to be in the forefront of offering the affordable and flexible vehicle finance options that leasing provides.”
CULA vehicle leasing also proved a key tool for dealers in 2021: CULA experienced exponential growth in dealer partnerships, increasing the number of dealers in its network more than ten-fold in the past three years.
Says Cody Carter, internet sales manager at Tustin Toyota in Southern California, who works with CULA: “There are very few customers a lease won’t work for. And as the market normalizes, having an alternative bank, such as a credit union, means that we can hit payments that work for our customers and gives us an edge that no one else has.”
CULA pioneered indirect vehicle leasing for credit unions with its analytically driven, high-value leasing program supported by stellar customer service and proven systems, all with a focus on helping credit unions meet their financial and membership goals.
About Credit Union Leasing of America
Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA) has been the leader in indirect vehicle leasing for credit unions for over 30 years. Founded in 1988, CULA provides best-in-class program assistance, analytics reporting, compliance support, dealer management tools and member services. The CULA indirect vehicle leasing program empowers credit union innovators to diversify their existing loan portfolios, improve yield and expand member services. Visit www.cula.com to learn more.
Angela Jacobson, mWEBB Communications, angela(at)mwebbcom(dot)com, (714) 454-8776
Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, melanie(at)mwebbcom(dot)com, (949) 307-1723
 Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market: Q3 2021