TransUnion: Late Auto-Loan Payments Down in 1Q
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The rate of late payments for auto loans fell nationally in the first three months of the year to the lowest level in more than a decade, even as lenders financed more vehicle purchases for high-risk borrowers.
For the January to March quarter, the rate of U.S. auto loan payments at least 60 days overdue declined to 0.36 percent, or down about 27 percent from the same period last year, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Wednesday.
That’s also down about 22 percent from the last three months of 2011.
The latest rate is the lowest since TransUnion began tracking auto loan data in 1999. The highest rate recorded by the company was 2.39 percent in the first quarter of 2000.
The auto loan delinquency rate has fallen on an annual basis for 10 consecutive quarters. One key reason: After the last recession, many borrowers made keeping up with their car payments a priority over other types of financial obligations, including credit cards and home loans.
"Consumers have done a very good job of adjusting to their ever-changing circumstances and managing their debt load," said Peter Turek, a vice president at TransUnion’s financial services business unit. "The data show consumers are, in fact, paying their auto loans more on time than other loan products."
A lower rate of unpaid auto loans is good news for car shoppers, because it makes banks more willing to make auto loans, Turek added.
Low interest rates also have helped more car buyers qualify for financing.