ONTARIO, Calif. — A new report from Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL) shows that the firm’s affiliated credit unions collectively represented the United States’ No. 5 source for auto loans in 2009. Last year marked the second straight year of market share gain for the lending solutions provider, which currently represents more than 780 credit unions across the country.

Andrea Salgado, market research analyst for CUDL, presented the findings in a recent Webcast. She tempered the news by noting that numbers from recent months paint a somewhat different picture.

“We gained a lot of share from the captive [lenders],” Salgado said. “For the last six months of 2009, we saw that captives were once again reclaiming market share.”

The prior year’s No. 1 lender was Toyota Financial Services, which dropped into the No. 2 slot in 2009, trading places with Chase Auto Finance. Chase and Wachovia Dealer Services, which moved up three places to No. 3, were the only lenders in the Top 10 to grow their portfolios in 2009. CUDL credit unions gained market share despite shrinking in volume by 8 percent — a slight decrease compared to lenders such as American Honda Finance and GMAC, who remained on the list despite decreasing loan volume by 40 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

Delinquencies and charge-offs continue to haunt all sources of auto financing as part of the fallout from the recent economic downturn.

“Indirect [loan] delinquencies have been trending upward in 2009 but, fortunately, they’re still below the high that we experienced in the fourth quarter of 2008,” Salgado said. “Charge-offs have been trending upward as well, finishing the fourth quarter of 2009 at 1.45 percent.”

Salgado did not speculate as to when those numbers will improve, but it is widely believed that restricted lending to less-than-prime credit tiers will help to reverse those trends in the near future. The report found that, in 2009, CUDL-affiliated credit unions sent the lion’s share of their approvals to the prime lending tier — 81.2 percent of new-vehicle originations and 72.1 percent of used-vehicle loans were for customers with FICO scores of 680 or higher.