Equifax: Auto Finance Companies Originating More Subprime Loans Than Banks & Credit Unions
November 03, 2011
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ATLANTA — The latest Equifax National Credit Trends Report declared auto finance companies have significantly increased lending. In fact, the growth is more than 47 percent during the past two years.
Analysts discovered auto finance lenders outpaced bank and credit union lending to subprime borrowers during the past two years, as well. Equifax defines subprime borrowers as consumers with credit scores below 640.
According to the most recent monthly report, there were 854,800 auto finance company originated loans in July, versus 581,300 for July 2009. Equifax tabulated that vehicle loans to subprime borrowers now account for 38.5 percent of all auto loan originations for auto finance companies and 17.6 percent for banks and credit unions — numbers that are quickly approaching pre-recession levels.
By contrast, analysts pointed out 820,200 loans were originated by banks and credit unions for the same period in July, versus 832,000 for July 2009. That's a decrease of less than 2 percent.
Equifax mentioned delinquency rates continue to improve for outstanding vehicle loans currently 60 or more days past due.
Michael Koukounas, senior vice president of special client services for Equifax, indicated the rate is now down to 1.63 percent of loans, compared to a peak that was near 3 percent. Koukounas believes the decline reflects a continuation of sustained credit retraction that the auto lending industry is experiencing earlier than other loan types.
"With unemployment rates remaining elevated for a prolonged period, auto lenders have proactively adopted more comprehensive data and verification tools for greater loan-level transparency in evaluating a wider band of consumers, which has helped enable the auto lending industry to recover more quickly than others," Koukounas explained.
To support his theory, Koukounas pointed out that in July there were 1.7 million auto loans were originated worth $32 billion collectively. From January through July, he said there were 11.3 million new auto loans originated — a 13.2-percent increase over the same time span last year.
The collective amount of these loans is 14.8 percent higher, climbing to $213.9 billion.
In other elements of Equifax's report, the firm also revealed that the average monthly payment has remained relatively unchanged during the past year.
For auto finance company originated loans, the payment ticked up to $407 in July from $404 in the same month last year. For bank and credit union-originated loans, the payment slid down to $364 in July from $377 in July of last year.
Equifax insisted the changes clearly show that the growth the industry is experiencing is tied to increases in number of loans rather than an increase in average loan amount.
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