George C. Ford, CR Gazette –
The latest report on car loan delinquencies shows more Iowans and consumers nationwide are making their monthly payments on time.
Chicago-based TransUnion said less than 0.50 percent of Iowans were more than 60 days delinquent with their auto loan payments in the first quarter, which ended March 31.
Nationally, auto loan delinquency rates dropped to 0.36 percent in the first quarter, down nearly 27 percent from 0.49 percent in the same quarter of 2011. That’s the lowest level since TransUnion began tracking the data in 1999.
On a quarterly basis, auto loan delinquencies declined almost 22 percent from 0.46 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
“Auto loan delinquencies continue to perform exceptionally,” said Peter Turek, automotive vice president in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “This can be attributed primarily to growing demand for both new and used vehicles and higher used vehicle values, which equates to an increase in equity for consumers.
Mississippi at 0.77 percent had the highest rate of loans delinquent 60 days or more in the first quarter of 2012, followed by Louisiana (0.69 percent) and Tennessee (0.56 percent). Montana recorded the lowest rate of auto loan delinquencies at o.15 percent in the first quarter, followed by New Hampshire (0.18 percent) and Minnesota (0.19 percent).
Turek said TransUnion is seeing increases in lending and leasing across the board, along with a higher number of loans for the non-prime risk customers. Average consumer loan debt rose 1.74 percent to $13,272 in the first quarter of 2012 from $13,045 in the final quarter of 2011.
Between the fourth quarter of 2011, which ended Dec. 31, and the first quarter of 2012, TransUnion said 43 states experienced declines in their auto delinquency rates. Only 34 percent of metropolitan statistical areas saw increases in their auto delinquency rates in the first quarter of 2012, down from 44 percent in three months of last year.
While Turek said TransUnion expects auto loan delinquency levels to remain fairly low and stable through the end of 2012, he said a slight increase from would not be surprising and should not be construed as a significant change.
“Lenders will continue to originate more loans to consumers across all credit risk levels,” Turek said.
TransUnion tracks auto loan delinquencies as part of its ongoing series of quarterly analyses of credit-active consumers and how they are managing credit related to mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.