Subprime Auto-Loan Delinquencies, Loan Deferrals & Stimulus Curdle into Curious Phenomenon

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

In the bizarre machinery of an economy that depends on consumer spending funded by stimulus and “extend and pretend.”

OK, get this: At a time when there are 29.6 million people claiming state or federal unemployment insurance because they lost their work in the worst economy of a lifetime, subprime auto-loan delinquencies, which in the past had spiked during much smaller labor market downturns, are doing the opposite: they’re dropping. Meaning, since April, people with subprime credit ratings are defaulting a lot less on their auto loans than they did during the Good Times.

In August, delinquencies of 60 days and over of subprime auto loans that have been securitized into auto-loan Asset-Backed Securities dropped to 3.49% of total auto loans (prime and subprime), the lowest delinquency rate for any August in seven years, according to the Auto Loan Delinquency Index by Fitch Ratings. That was down 2.44 percentage points from August 2019, when the delinquency rate was 5.93%:

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