WICHITA, Kan. (1/27/10)--Repossessions of cars and trucks have been trending upward since the fall, creating an increase in the number of vehicles for sale in the parking lots of credit unions throughout Wichita, Kan. The rising number of repossessions are a sign that more consumers are unable to make their monthly car payments because their savings accounts have been depleted and their unemployment benefits have run out, according to some Wichita credit union executives (The Wichita Eagle Jan. 26) . “I kind of expect it to continue, maybe even go up this year,” Jim Holt, president of Mid-America CU, told the newspaper. Repossessions in 2009 were triple the amount of previous years, Larry Damm, president of Cessna Employees CU, told the paper. “It’s huge,” Damm added. “The difference here is voluntary repossessions. Folks just drove in and gave us the keys. And we believe we’re going to be there for another year.” During economic downturns, credit unions generally see an uptick in repossessions, credit union executives told the paper. “This isn’t unique to Wichita,” Bob Corwin, CEO of Meritrust CU, told the paper. “I’m hearing this [downturn] is a little bit more unique because of the uncertainty as to when the cycle might end.” Because credit unions are “taking a bath” on the resale value of repossessed cars and trucks, “we do everything we can to try and keep that car in [members’] driveways as long as we possibly can,” Chuck Bullock, CEO of TECU CU, told the paper. “During 2009, you might as well have hung a scarlet letter around an SUV or pickup,” he added, alluding to their resale value. To read the article, use the link.