Dealerships in major leasing markets, including Michigan and New York, were closed for much of the period because of the pandemic, and attractive loan offers drew more customers to finance instead of lease.
GM Financial deferred 127,000 accounts from mid-March to mid-June to help customers weather the pandemic. As of July 26, 80 percent made their next scheduled payment on time, 5 percent had not reached their first due date after the deferral, 1 percent received an additional payment deferral and about 14 percent were at least one day past their due date.
"When we launched the deferral program toward middle to late March, we were quite concerned about how consumer credit would develop during the pandemic," Berce said. "We have been surprised at, No. 1, the low level of delinquencies and defaults we're seeing and, No. 2, the fact that payment performance on the deferrals we made is really quite good."
Reduced consumer spending and government stimulus checks put more cash in customers' pockets to pay their auto loans on time, he said.
"If you compare the performance on payment deferrals we made during the pandemic to any other period in our history where we've routinely made deferments, the performance is just meaningfully better," Berce said.
The average delinquency rate of the captive's entire portfolio was 3.5 percent, compared with 3.7 percent a year earlier.