Local lenders, auto dealers, say Oklahoma market staying strong - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Local lenders, auto dealers, say Oklahoma market staying strong

Lawton_Another worry caused by the current financial situation - getting loans.  There has been a lot of discussion of mortgages and home loans with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others, but, what about other high cost items, such as cars?  Dealerships advertise year-end sales to sell the remainder of their 2008 inventory in order to make way for 2009 models.  But, will the economy hurt your chances for getting a loan for that new ride?  Local lenders and dealers say the Oklahoma market is strong, and folks still are getting loans and credit for vehicles.  However, everyone is keeping an eye on the market - especially lenders and sellers. 

Being approved for a loan doesn't only come down to credit score.  Lenders factor in debt-to-income rations, down payments, and overall cost of the car.  "What we're primarily looking at is making sure that somebody's not getting into too much vehicle," said Rick Walker with Liberty National Bank.  "If they have a lower income, we're looking for a lower [cost] vehicle."  Walker says a lot of times people will want loans for vehicles out of their price range.  "Part of our job as a banker is to counsel them on trying to keep them in a right priced vehicle," he said. 

Car dealers say they are aware of challenges in the mortgage industry, but they say they still see prime and sub-prime lenders approving plenty of loans for vehicles.  "We've had a couple lenders leave the market, but then again we've had a couple of lenders that replaced those lenders who left," said Darron Bonner with Aubrey Chevrolet.  "As far as we're concerned, our business is still as strong as ever."

They say they expect business to remain high where lenders continue to lend, and buyers continue to buy.  "I think we'll continue to be uniquely prosperous in our part of the country because of a pretty good agriculture market and defense spending," said Dan Mullins of Dan Mullins Nissan.  "We've just been blessed in years past with having a very stable marketplace." 

However, some lenders have seen a slight decline in the market compared with some very good months this summer.  "September has been somewhat of a slower month for us," said Emmet Meraz with Southwest Oklahoma Federal Credit Union.  "I think this may be due to the fact that people are hesitant to let go of the money they have and take on new payments."  He says Oklahoma has a slight buffer with relation to the rest of the country.  However, Oklahoma feels the same national economic situations as everyone else.  He says it takes time for the effects to flow from the east and west coasts.

Lenders advise borrowers to maintain a credit score of 650 or higher, however that won't necessarily rule you out for a good loan.

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