RENO, Nev. (10/5/10)--Nevada's credit unions are aggressively campaigning to recover the large auto lending market share they held 18 months ago, according to Northern Nevada Business Weekly (Oct. 4). In 2009 credit unions nationwide held a 22.5% share of auto loans, thanks to a growth spurt that occurred when banks and automakers' captive finance companies tightened lending. Credit unions had money to loan, Bill Meyer of CU Direct Corp., an Ontario, Calif.-based company that provides technology for auto lending at credit unions, told the publication. Today, however, those competitors have returned to auto lending, and credit unions' share declined to about 17%, said Meyer. The article describes what local Nevada credit unions are doing to attract auto loans. Greater Nevada CU, Carson City, is talking directly to consumers via media ad campaigns urging borrowers "to drive something that's a little more you." It also has developed a preferred-dealer program in which it promotes dealers to members, and members get a price break. The credit union had $65.26 million in new-car loans at midyear, plus $68.2 million in used-car loans. The combined auto loans accounted for 40% of the credit union's $337.2 million loan portfolio. Reno-based Greater Basin FCU held about $59 million in auto loans at midyear, accounting for more than two-thirds of its loan and lease portfolio. It marketed to consumers with 3.99% loans for new- or used-vehicle purchases. It's now marketing a 1% cash rebate up to $300 on new loans and refinancings. Greater Basin also scheduled a free open house Oct. 16 where members and nonmembers can learn abut auto-financing options and the car-buying process.