Auto loan delinquency rates expected to return to normal Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial choices by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct your own research and compare information for free and help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers such as, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The deals that are advertised on this site are from companies that pay us. This compensation could affect how and when products are featured on this website, for example, for example, the sequence in which they appear in the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. This applies to our mortgage or home equity products, as well as other home lending products. However, this compensation will not influence the information we provide, or the reviews you read on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial deals that could be accessible to you. SHARE: Massimo colombo/Getty Images

3 minutes read Read Published March 02, 2023.

Written by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely taking out loans to buy cars. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to manage their finances with concise, well-studied information that breaks down otherwise complicated topics into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate promise

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You have money questions. Bankrate can help. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for over four decades. We are constantly striving to provide our readers with the professional advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct standard of conduct, so you can rest assured that our content is honest and precise. Our award-winning editors, reporters and editors produce honest and reliable content to help you make the right financial decisions. Our content produced by our editorial team is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers. We’re honest about the ways we’re capable of bringing high-quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to our customers by describing how we earn our money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products andservices or when you click on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may affect the way, location and when products are listed in the event that they are not permitted by law. We also offer credit, mortgage and other products for home loans. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether the product is available in your region or within your personal credit score can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include the details of every financial or credit products or services. While the prices of cars have been on the rise, the auto loan delinquency rates were extremely low in the initial two years after the outbreak. This isn’t any longer the case. As the works to address the rising cost of living, more consumers are being unable to pay their auto loans and we can expect delinquency rates to rise back to pre-pandemic levels when we reach the end of 2022. 2022 delinquency rates continue to increase. The robust credit conditions during the pandemic are now returning to normal levels, exemplified by the auto loan results this month. According to Cox Automotive’s weekly insights from early October, loans over 60 days late have been increasing — up 30.8 percent from the year prior. But normal does not necessarily mean good. These numbers reveal that the rates of delinquency are accelerating up each month- especially for subprime drivers. These borrowers are directly affected by inflation and likely can be vulnerable to lenders. Currently, it is vital to be current on your loan payments to avoid the risk of defaulting on your loan or losing your car. The good news is that the increased amount of delinquencies haven’t yet resulted in an increase in the number of people defaulting on their loans in the pre-pandemic level. But vehicle availability and credit access could alter the situation in 2022 as the year comes to an end. Focus on the big picture While it is certain that delinquency rates are on the rise but it is crucial to think about the causes which are causing this rise. It is due to a problem of demand and supply which remains the main influence of price increase in the automobile sector. With less inventory and increased demands, higher priced vehicles result in higher prices, 6.07 and 10.26 percent for used and new cars respectively, according to . But Satyan Merchant who is the senior vice president and business director at TransUnion advises us to look at the big picture when it comes to auto delinquencies following the “Critical Eye on Auto Performance, released in mid-October. Merchant notes that “while points-in-time rates of delinquency are higher compared to prior time frames, we have also observed relatively stable performance in the past.” So, this rise in delinquency is not unusual when seen on an economic scale. The report also showed that overall performance was comparable to rates in 2019, which is an encouraging indicator. The shrinking “denominator” Another reason for the rising rates of delinquency is what TransUnion refers to as “the shrinking denominator.” This is due to the number of cars that are being financed — much lower than previously. This is due to lower originations in the year 2020, which continued to decline due to shortages of vehicles, and the increase in repossessions of vehicles between 2021 as well as 2022. All of these factors cause an “imbalance between the volumes of originations and total account runoff results in lower total outstanding account quantity,” found TransUnion. What kept the auto loan delinquency rates stable? The data from February 2022 suggests that government assistance helped play an essential part in keeping the delinquency rate steady over the past two years. Because many of the Americans receiving extra assistance during this time also fall under the subprime category which resulted in lower loan originations and lower delinquency rates. Missing loan originations across all categories, the majority of auto delinquencies are incurred by borrowers with low credit scores. Thus, with less people with low credit scores getting new loans the delinquency rate remained fairly low. A lot of low-credit borrowers were unable to get new loans due to a lower demand for vehicles with stay-at-home orders and more stringent acceptance criteria that lenders are implementing. The data from the most recent Fed meeting support this view. A large portion of the time between 2020 and beginning of 2021 were made up of a smaller number of loan originations. These “missing originations” — as the Fed defined them — led to lower delinquency rates. If those who tend to be a target for repossession or defaulting on their loans are not borrowing less, there will be fewer defaults. This, along with federal assistance and lenders offering leniency on payment terms, resulted in fewer late loans and originations. Fewer subprime borrowers Subprime are those who have a credit score between 501 and 600 According to Experian. In the third quarter of 2022, total loans and leases made by all subprime borrowers -which includes deep subprime- falls to just under 16 percent. Separated out deep subprime was able to hit a record low rate that was 1.85 percent. How can you avoid being in debt on your auto loan It’s hot right now so can be a great option to save some money. But if you decide to take out an loan with a shorter term, then it is usually recommended to take out a larger loan to prevent unmanageable monthly installments. In addition, if it becomes difficult to meet your monthly payment, you might consider changing the terms of your loan. Be aware that the length of your term also increases your interest rate you pay throughout the term that you take out the loan. When you buy a used car you can get quality vehicles at less cost. Since new vehicles appreciate quickly within the first year or two and you’re more likely to avoid being on the loan due to having to pay more than what it’s worth. In the end, delinquencies have been low through the initial 2 years following the outbreak. The principal reasons for the lower rates of default are the fewer borrowers and more government assistance to borrowers who typically be struggling to make payments. With aid ending and increasing the number of people looking for vehicles — and , by the extension, financing there is likely to be an increase in defaults over the period 2022-2022. However, this is more of an indication of the end of federal assistance, and not necessarily an alarm signal. Find out more


Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers in navigating the details of taking out loans to buy cars. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances by providing well-written, clear details that cut otherwise complicated subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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