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Interest Rates Up, Amount Financed Down, Reports Fed

March 11, 2008

In January, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3.25 percent, up from the 2-percent annual rate increase in December, according to the recent Federal Reserve Statistical Release.

Nonrevolving consumer credit, which includes auto loans, increased at an annual rate of 1 percent, or $1.5 billion.

Interest rates at auto finance companies for new cars rose to 4.55 percent in January from 3.91 percent in December.

Loan maturities remained steady for the fourth month in a row at around 63 months. The loan-to-value ratio dropped slightly to 94 percent from 95 percent.

Amount financed decreased for the fourth consecutive month by $689 in January to $28,373.

Nonrevolving consumer credit increased by $7.1 billion from December to January, reaching $1.587 trillion. Finance companies represent the majority of that at $484 billion, down $10 billion from December. Commercial banks represent the second largest segment, jumping $21 billion from December to January to $472 billion.

Pools of securitized assets dropped in January to $227 billion from $232 billion in December. Credit unions made up $206 billion of nonrevolving consumer credit, a $1.5-billion decrease from December. Federal government and Sallie Mae increased by $4 billion in January to $102 billion. Savings institutions and non-financial businesses made up $46 billion and $49 billion, respectively, no change for savings institutions, but a $1.7 billion drop for non-financial businesses.

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