There have been several pieces of news this month which could prompt a little champagne and celebration. After struggling through a challenging first half of the year, the third quarter looks to be strong for anyone operating in the retail automotive space. U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 10% in August, the second straight month of higher volume, with positive sales across most brands.
Additionally, on September 19th, the Federal Reserve shaved 50 basis points off the short-term benchmark interest rate, including a quarter point reduction in the general interest rate. But, don’t pop the Champagne cork yet. While this signals good news for auto loan volume, Cox Automotive cautioned the industry not to be too excited, indicating that consumers with lower credit scores will not see any relief. Subprime has reached a 10-year high and the analyst firm sees lenders requiring a higher premium to cover their risk.
Potentially in response to this concern, the New York Federal Reserve reflected that lenders relaxed access to loans for customers whose credit scores were subprime and in the lowest category of prime during the second quarter of this year.
As a result, auto loan and lease originations combined totaled $155.6 billion for the quarter, up 2.9% year-over-year. Keeping a cautious eye on the market, the New York Fed analysts are monitoring an increase in auto delinquencies. In the second quarter of 2019, loans that were 90+ days delinquent rose year-over-year by 4.2%. Continue reading