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TransUnion: Delinquencies Fall for the Seventh Straight Quarter

August 23, 2011

The national 60-day delinquency rate for auto loans fell for the seventh consecutive quarter, dropping to 0.44 percent at the end of the second quarter, TransUnion reported today. The credit bureau, however, did note a moderate deceleration of the delinquency rate since the third quarter of last year.

On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the rate declined 10.20 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the rate declined 16.98 percent, as 60-day delinquencies continue to remain at historically low levels.

"Historically, first and second quarter auto delinquencies tend to be lower than those experienced in the second half of the year," said Peter Turek, automotive vice president in TransUnion's financial services business unit. "However, over the last seven quarters  ─  on a year-over-year basis ─ we have seen delinquencies trend downward as consumers continue to pay down debt.”

Turek partly attributed the quarter-over-quarter decrease to seasonal influences. He added that improving sales during those two quarters also has helped, as the more consumer open auto loans, the more downward pressure is placed on delinquency rates. Also helping to keep rates down are low interest rates, which has made monthly payments more affordable.

Between the first and second quarters of 2011, 43 states experienced declines in their auto delinquency rates. On a more granular level, 60 percent of metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) saw declines in their delinquency rates last quarter. During the first quarter of 2011, 64 percent of MSAs experienced a decline in auto delinquency rates compared to only 49 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

"Today, national auto delinquency rates are at historic lows, at half the levels found in credit card nonpayment rates and over 10 times lower than seen in the mortgage sector," Turek said. "Lenders that have money to lend are attracted to auto finance as it is a relatively low risk short-term asset and auto loan delinquencies are expected to remain at historically low levels through the end of the year. Consumers should benefit in the form of competitive offers, making purchase decisions easier and more affordable."

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