ATLANTA, May 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to Equifax's (NYSE:EFX) latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, $69.6 billion in new credit for auto loans was originated in January and February 2013, the highest level in more than eight years and more than 70% higher than the recession low of $40.2 billion for the same time period in 2009. The 3.5 million new auto loans originated in January and February 2013 also represent an eight year high, while new loans funded in that same time by banks, savings and loans or credit unions increased by more than 20%, to $35.6 billion from $29.5 billion. "Sales of new cars and light trucks hit a 5-year high in the first quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, and consumers' demand for auto loans is similarly strong," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "Light trucks in particular are in demand for the newly energized housing construction trade and there is a lack of supply of used trucks available so prices on these vehicles are currently rising. Consumers are also funding purchases of used cars with loans at attractive rates and low delinquency rates are allowing lenders to make credit a bit more easily available." Other highlights from the most recent data include:
- Balances on outstanding auto loans totaled $798 billion as of April 2013, an increase of more than 8% from same time a year ago and a 51-month high.
- The total number of loans stands at 59.8 million, nearly a four-year high.
- As of April 2013, total outstanding balances on loans funded by auto finance companies are $416.9 billion, a 50-month high. The total number of outstanding loans is more than 31 million, a 46-month high.
- Similarly, total outstanding balances on loans funded by banks, savings and loans or credit unions are $381.1 billion, a high of more than 60 months. The total number of loans outstanding is more than 28 million, a 41-month high.
- Serious delinquencies on auto loans funded by banks and other depositories fell to 0.32% of outstanding balances in April, a decline of 13.9% from March's level and 9.1% lower than the same time a year ago.
- Serious delinquencies on auto loans funded by finance companies fell to 1.75% of outstanding balances, a decline of 11.7% from March's rate and 15.4% from April 2012's level.