"Sustained recent consumer demand for auto leasing, financing and purchase has driven a return of this portfolio to pre-recession numbers more rapidly than any other lending sector," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews-Cutts.
That is, auto finance has recovered to pre-recession levels faster than mortgages, credit cards, home equity loans or other personal loans, Equifax said.
As of the latest data, Equifax said that auto loan originations and average amount per loan were at their highest level since before the recession.
Auto loan originations year-to-date through August 2012 were more than $283 billion, the highest for that eight-month time frame since 2006, when it was $297.5 billion, the credit bureau said. That was 14.6 million new and used vehicles; the highest number of originations for that period since 2007.
At the same time, the average loan amount for the month of August 2012 also was a six-year high at $19,492, Equifax said. That was the highest since August 2006, at $20,291.