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Interest Rates Drop, Amount Financed Up, Reports Fed

May 21, 2008

In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7.2 percent, up from the 3.1 percent annual rate increase in February, according to the Federal Reserve.

Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2008, an increase from to the 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2007.

Nonrevolving consumer credit, which includes auto loans, increased at an annual rate of 6.8 percent or $1.6 trillion.

Interest rates at auto finance companies for new cars dropped to 4.19 percent in March, the lowest rate in the first quarter of 2008.

Loan maturities fell nearly a point from 63.2 percent to 62.3 percent. The loan-to-value ratio dropped one point from 95 to 94 percent, the average for the first quarter of 2008.

Amount financed increased by $55 in March to $28,173.

Nonrevolving consumer credit increased by $4 billion from February to March, reaching $1.596 trillion. Finance companies represented the majority of that at $499 billion, up $5 billion from February to March. Commercial banks represented the second largest segment with a $4 billion increase from February to March to $473 billion.

Pools of securitized assets dropped from $229.5 billion in February to $226.2 billion in March. Credit unions made up $200 billion of nonrevolving consumer credit, a $1.5 billion drop from February. Federal government and Sallie Mae increased slightly by $300 million in March to $103 billion. Savings institutions and non-financial businesses made up $46 and $47 billion, respectively, no change for savings institutions in the first quarter of 2008, but a $600 million drop for non-financial businesses.

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