CHICAGO — High delinquency rates for auto loans and credit cards in the first quarter pushed national average delinquency rates to levels not seen in at least three years, according to a TransUnion report.
According to the firm, the continued slump in oil prices has negatively affected states, including North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, with economies that rely on the energy sector. This slump, the firm said, can be partly blamed for the adverse impact on consumer credit performance for residents of those states.
“Rising delinquency rates in energy-sector states such as Oklahoma and North Dakota are contributing to the uptick in the national delinquency rate for auto loans and credit cards. An increase of loans to nonprime credit risk borrowers also has pushed these delinquency rates up,” said Ezra Becker, senior vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit.
He added that “despite the delinquency rises in these credit products, overall levels of delinquency remain relatively low from a historical perspective.
For the first time in five years, auto loan payments 60 days or more past due topped 1%, climbing to 1.12% in the first quarter. Auto loan payments 90 or more days past due increased to 1.47%, a 13.1% increase from the prior-year period and the highest level observed in the first quarter since 2013.
During the first quarter of this year, 76.37 million consumers had an auto loan, an increase of five million from the year-ago period, according to TransUnion. The report found that auto loan originations grew 5.4% year over year to 6.51 million in the fourth quarter 2015, with the average new account balance reaching its highest level since the Great Recession at $20,469.
“For the first time post-Recession, more than 76 million consumers have an auto loan, a promising sign for the remainder of 2016. More nonprime consumers have an auto loan and parts of the country are feeling the impact of lower energy prices, contributing to a mild-increase in delinquency,” said Jason Laky, senior vice president and automotive and consumer lending business leader for TransUnion.