Consumers seeking auto loans in recent months are turning to credit unions in larger numbers. Perhaps in response to widespread public distrust of large banks, credit unions now own 16.2 percent of the auto loan market share, according to Credit Unions Online. Delinquent payments on such loans are also down, as TransUnion reported last month that the delinquency rate decreased for the eight-straight quarter in the July-September period, falling from 0.58 percent in the previous year to 0.47 percent. Credit unions in general are also growing more popular as a source of credit. In the third quarter, credit unions opened 137,000 new checking accounts, an increase of 3.8 percent, according to a recent report from Callahan & Associates. "Already we are seeing these nine-month results confirmed with announcements of record-setting patronage dividends for this year," said Jay Johnson, executive vice president of Callahan & Associates. "Credit unions continue to provide members unique value in multiple ways. That is the advantage of the cooperative model." The surge in auto loans from credit unions may also reflect improving consumer confidence and higher new vehicle sales.