SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Automotive loan balances reached a record high since Experian Automotive began reporting automotive finance data seven years ago, according to the company’s State of the Automotive Finance Market report. Outstanding balances on auto loans reached $782.9 billion, up $103 billion from the third quarter 2012.

Additional findings from the report showed a 3.4 percent decrease from a year ago in 30-day delinquencies, which accounted for 2.58 percent of auto loan balances in the third quarter. Six-day delinquencies remained flat.

 “The combination of higher loan balances and relatively flat loan delinquencies is good news for everyone connected to the automotive industry, including consumers, lenders, retailers and manufacturers,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director of Automotive Lending for Experian Automotive. “The availability of credit, combined with consumers’ continued strong performance repaying their loans, has a positive spiral effect. It allows lenders to slowly but surely take on additional risk while providing more access to loans and paving the way for higher auto sales.”

Automotive loan balances are growing across the country. Those showing the fastest percentage growth year over year included California (up 29.3 percent), Texas (up 26.3 percent) and Nevada (up 26.0 percent). The states with the slowest growth rates year over year included Hawaii (up 12.4 percent), Wyoming (up 12.3 percent) and Michigan (up 6.8 percent).

States with the steepest year-over-year decline in loan balances 30 days delinquent included Hawaii (down 12.75 percent), Vermont (down 11.69 percent) and Oregon (down 11.64 percent). States with the biggest jump in 30-day delinquencies year over year included Rhode Island (up 18.53 percent), Wyoming (up 11.98 percent) and Alaska (up 10.24 percent).

One of the few negative trends in this year’s third quarter was the sharp increase in vehicle repossessions for the quarter. In the same period of 2012, the repossession rate was 0.40 percent, but it jumped 54.4 percent to 0.62 percent in 2013.

However, the increase in repossessions was limited entirely to finance companies, which typically provide loans to the subprime market. Finance companies saw their repossession rate jump 124.9 percent, going from 1.18 percent in third quarter 2012 to 2.66 percent in third quarter 2013. Repossession rates for captive finance companies, banks and credit unions all dropped slightly in the quarter.

In other findings:

  • Outstanding loans in the nonprime, subprime and deep-subprime segments were up, but only slightly (36 percent in third quarter 2013 vs. 35.9 percent in third quarter 2012).
  • The percentage of loan dollars that are 30 days delinquent rose slightly, rising from 2.16 percent in third quarter 2012 to 2.17 percent in third quarter 2013.
  • The percentage of loan dollars that are 60 days delinquent rose slightly (0.50 percent in third quarter 2012 to 0.52 percent in third quarter 2013)
  • The average charge-off amount for loans gone bad jumped from $7,026 in third quarter 2012 to $7,770 in third quarter 2013