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The U.S. Automotive Industry Is Back and This Company Is Loving It

By Patrick Morris - Dec 28, 2013 at 11:29AM

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Ford and GM have benefited from surging car sales, but so too have Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other banks.

Source: Stefan.

It's no secret that the automotive market charged back in a big way in 2013 -- and while companies like Ford (F 3.06%) and GM have certainly been beneficiaries, a few banks are also reaping the rewards.

While Bank of America (BAC 3.39%), Wells Fargo (WFC 2.14%) PNC (PNC 2.13%), and even smaller lenders like Huntington Bancshares (HBAN 2.80%) aren't often top of mind when it comes to the auto industry, the reality is, they too are loving the rebound.

Consider that Ford recently released a statement entitled simply, "Ford Expects Outstanding 2013" that began by noting, "Ford expects 2013 to be one of the best full-year results in its history, with strong revenue growth, market share in all regions improved or equal to last year, total company pre-tax profit of about $8.5 billion." The release reiterated that 2013 would be one of its best years four times.

While things are not where they were before the financial crisis, the 14.5 million vehicles sold through the end of November would best the total sales of each year between 2008 and 2011. When you consider the average December over the previous 13 years had 1.3 million vehicles sold, it also means that 2013 will represent not only represent a great year for Ford, but the entire automotive industry:

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce.

While the beneficiaries of this include the automotive companies, the reality is, almost all vehicles are financed through auto loans, and the rise in sales is also a big benefit to banks.

For example, Wells Fargo has watched its automobile loan portfolio grow by $3.6 billion from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of this year (8%). While Wells Fargo saw impressive loan growth, even more impressive growth (on a percentage basis) was seen at Huntington Bancshares, where auto loans outstanding grew by an astounding 49% (or $2 billion) and PNC (up $1.9 billion, or 23%).

Yet perhaps the biggest winner in all of this may be Bank of America.

Experian, a data and consulting firm, recently reported that Bank of America has been aggressively taking market share over the last year:

Source: Experian Information Solutions. 

As you can see, Bank of America has been one of only three banks to add to its market share, and it has done so in a commanding way. This is important for shareholders and people considering an investment in Bank of America because it again shows the bank's ability to expand and broaden its consumer banking business, which has represented almost 40% of its nearly $11.8 billion of net income through its core businesses.

Many people think that Bank of America is simply a megabank that has exhausted its opportunities for growth, but this is just another in a long list of examples that show how much opportunity still exists for the company.

Fool contributor Patrick Morris owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, Ford, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Ford, Huntington Bancshares, PNC Financial Services, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Bank of America Corporation Stock Quote
Bank of America Corporation
$35.07 (3.39%) $1.15
Wells Fargo & Company Stock Quote
Wells Fargo & Company
$44.33 (2.14%) $0.93
Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
$15.50 (3.06%) $0.46
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Stock Quote
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
$169.46 (2.13%) $3.54
Huntington Bancshares Incorporated Stock Quote
Huntington Bancshares Incorporated
$13.96 (2.80%) $0.38

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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