DULUTH, Ga. (4/6/11)--Credit union members in Georgia are holding on to their cars longer, according to a recent survey conducted by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, and nationwide consumer lending data indicates that trend may be affecting credit unions. The Georgia survey indicates 77.1% of respondents reported that they are keeping their vehicles longer to avoid the cost of purchasing a new or used vehicle. The survey included responses from more than 4,000 Georgia credit union members and aggregated data from credit unions statewide. New-auto loan balances at credit unions nationwide have been declining since 2007, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The balances decreased by 16.5% in 2010. That’s a faster rate of decline than the 7.9% reported in 2009. Used-auto loans rose by 3.4% in 2010, a slightly slower rate than the 3.9% increase in 2009. Auto loans--particularly new-auto loans--also account for a lower overall share of loans than in previous years, according to CUNA data. Overall, autos composed about 29% of credit union loan balances in 2010, down slightly from 30%. But new-automobile loans accounted for 11% of overall loans, down from 13% in 2009. By comparison, in 2006 auto loans represented about 35% of credit unions’ overall loan portfolios, with new autos comprising about 18% of that total.