Banks came out on top in a new review of auto lending market share in the first quarter, followed by captive finance companies and credit unions, according to Experian's State of the Automotive Finance Market report.

Banks had a 39.5% market share, followed by captive finance companies (17.43%), credit unions (16.7%), finance companies (15.5%) and buy here/pay here financing lots (10.7%).

Findings from the report indicate that the average monthly payment for a new vehicle financed in the first quarter was $459, down from $462 in the first quarter a year ago. Leasing accounted for a record 27.5% of all new vehicles financed, up from 24.4% in the first quarter of 2012, according to the report.

Experian Automotive said new vehicle leasing rose by 12.5% in the first quarter to achieve the highest level since the company began tracking the data in 2006. While leasing a vehicle can potentially help consumers achieve a lower monthly payment, Experian's data showed a rise in loan lengths to 65 months in the first quarter, up from 64 months in the first quarter of 2012, and a decrease in interest rates to 4.5%, was down from 4.6% for the same period last year.

The shifts have helped to keep payments low for new vehicles financed, reports Experian. In the first quarter, the average loan amount for a new vehicle financed increased by $628, going from $26,020 in the first quarter of 2012 to $26,648 in this year’s first quarter. The average used vehicle loan increased $461, going from $17,071 to $17,532 for the same period.

Experian further found that consumers within all credit score tiers were able to obtain financing in the first quarter. Loans going to consumers with credit outside of prime such as nonprime, subprime and deep subprime, jumped to 45.2% of the overall loan market in the first quarter, up from 44.4% for the same period in 2012.

The average credit score for a new vehicle loan dropped to 755 in the first quarter, which was down from 760 from the first quarter of 2012, according to Experian. There was a two-point drop from 659 to 657 seen in the average credit score for used vehicle loans for the same period.

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