NEW YORK — Total household debt reached a new peak in the fourth quarter of 2017, rising by $193 billion from the prior quarter to $13.15 trillion. That’s $473 billion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said this week.
And it appears finance sources, at least in the auto space, are responding.
According to New York Fed’s report, the median credit score for an auto loan increased two points from the third quarter to 707 — the highest level since the first quarter of 2011 and a half a point higher than the first quarter of 2009. The increase in scores might explain the small quarter-over-quarter fourth decline in auto loan originations, which totaled $137 billion during the end-of-year period.
Despite the decrease, 2017 recorded the highest auto loan origination volume observed by the New York Fed. Total open auto loan balances increased by $64 billion on a year-over-year basis to $1.22 trillion.
As for delinquencies, 4.1% of auto loan balances were 90 or more days delinquent as of Dec. 31, 2017 — the highest level since the third quarter of 2012.
According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Senior Loan Office Opinion Survey, 12% of the 34 banks polled said they tightened credit standards somewhat, while 85.3% said standards remained unchanged.