TransUnion found 1.2 percent of auto borrowers hadn't paid a bill in two months as of the second quarter, down from 1.5 percent in the same period in 2020. It called the rate on a par with pre-pandemic levels: Both 2019 and 2018 saw 60-day delinquency rates of 1.2 percent during their second quarters.
"The subprime risk tier has seen 5.9 percent origination growth with serious delinquency rates for this risk tier slowing (year-over-year) for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic," TransUnion said in an Aug. 18 news release.
Experian recorded a 60-day delinquency rate of 0.41 percent in the second quarter, down slightly from the 0.44 percent observed in that period of 2020. That represented an improvement from the 0.62 percent seen before the coronavirus pandemic, in the second quarter of 2019.
The analytics firm observed that 99 percent of the auto loan accounts paid up in the first quarter remained current.
Experian did note an uptick in 30-day delinquency rates, from 1.26 percent in the second quarter of 2020 to 1.31 percent in the same period this year. The rate was 2 percent in the second quarter of 2019.
AFSA Communications Director Dan Bucherer said Aug. 18 that Americans tend to prioritize auto loans over other bills when money gets tight.
"They need to go to work," he said.
Defaults also improved over the previous year.
The auto loan default rate stood at 0.31 percent in July, according to the S&P/Experian Consumer Default Indices. This represented a 0.01 percentage point increase from June but a decline from the 0.47 percent seen in July 2020.