Last year was another good one for Credit Union Leasing of America (CULA), which generated double-digit growth of its portfolio as well as credit union and dealer partners.

CULA said its number of credit union partnerships increased 24% year-over-year, with four of those additions driving expansion into multiple states.

In addition, the company grew its active-dealer base by 17%, adding 274 new dealers to the program.

CULA now offers vehicle leasing through credit unions in 23 states and more than 40 credit unions are currently active on CULA’s platform.

Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego has been a CULA partner since 2018.

“Since we have partnered with CULA on vehicle leasing, we have been able to open up an important, more affordable alternative to help our members get into a vehicle without taking on an extended loan,” said Vince Nowicki, who is chief lending officer at Mission Federal Credit Union.

“And the benefits to us, in addition to helping our members, are higher yield, greater portfolio diversity and staying relevant with our members’ preferences, as well as being able to rely on CULA to navigate the back-end complexities of leasing for us so we can focus on member service,” Nowicki continued in a news release from CULA.

“Offering a lease product was a new strategy for Mission Federal. We were fortunate to have partnered with CULA who helped us every step of the way,” Nowicki went on to say.

It’s positive anecdotes like the one from Mission Federal Credit Union that has CULA leadership excited about what could happen this year.

“While vehicle prices have been trending down, the average transaction price remains $6,500 higher than in January 2021 according to Kelly Blue Book,” CULA president Ken Sopp said in the news release.

“High prices, coupled with an elevated interest rate environment, continues to make it challenging for consumers to afford cars, which is why leasing remains a strong option for credit unions to offer members in the market for a new or used vehicle — and why we expect to see continued growth in 2024,” Sopp continued.

Sopp and vice president of business development Mark Chandler elaborated about CULA’s prospects, the state of credit unions and the ongoing challenge to grow used-vehicle leasing during an episode of the Auto Remarketing Podcast recorded in Las Vegas at NADA Show 2024.

Listen to that conversation in the window below.