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New Car Loans Increased 15 Percent Last Year in Georgia

A new study by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates found that new vehicle loans in Georgia rose significantly last year. Used vehicle loans and first mortgage portfolios also increased.

Supported by an improving job market and increased property values, Georgia experienced a surge in new vehicle purchases in 2012.

That’s according to the latest "Paying Attention" report by Georgia
Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA)
. The report found that new vehicle loans at the state's credit unions increased by 15.4 percent and used car loans grew by 7.9 percent last year in Georgia.

Published quarterly, "Paying Attention" compiles savings and lending data from 38 credit unions from across the state, representing 92 percent of credit union assets and 86 percent of members in Georgia. The report’s findings coincide with strong U.S. auto sales last year – 2012 total car and light truck sales reached 14.4 million units – a 13 percent increase over 2011 results and the highest total since 2007.

"In Georgia, improving economic conditions helped to build consumer confidence," said Mike Mercer, president and CEO of GCUA. "This upturn in car sales is not just good news for car dealerships, but also proof of the state’s ongoing economic recovery."

Helping drive demand for new vehicles, many Georgians returned to work in 2012.

The state's unemployment rate dipped to 8.6 percent at the end of the year, the lowest level in nearly four years and nearly one point lower than the 9.4 percent reading at the start of 2012.

"With an improved economic outlook, it made sense for Georgians to finance their vehicles through credit unions," Mercer said. "The average rate on a five-year auto loan at the state’s credit unions averages more than one percent lower than banks – another reason why Georgians continue to rely on credit unions for their lending needs."

Strong gains in the housing market also boosted Georgians' consumer confidence
in 2012. Home prices rose 7.7 percent, and credit unions experienced a 5.73
percent increase in first mortgage portfolios.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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