Serious delinquency rates for auto loans were within a normal range from March to April indicating federal aid, tax returns and lenders' offerings of payment deferrals largely kept consumers above water — so far — during the COVID-19 crisis, credit bureau TransUnion said Wednesday.
Just 1.33 percent of auto borrowers were more than 60 days past due on their loans last month, down from 1.37 percent in March, TransUnion said in the first iteration of its Monthly Industry Snapshot Report. There were 83.8 million outstanding auto loans in the first quarter.
Satyan Merchant, senior vice president and automotive business leader at TransUnion, said federal stimulus checks, unemployment benefits and forbearance programs are cushioning the blow of record job losses and lost profits during the pandemic.
"The federal government quickly got a very large stimulus package out the door. The question is, How long will that last? Will this thing be prolonged and will consumers ultimately have run out of options in terms of missed payments on their loans?" Merchant said.
Many major U.S. auto lenders braced for potential losses in the first quarter, setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars for auto loans that are unlikely to be repaid.