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Report: State to lead in auto loan problems

TransUnion released its annual auto loan forecast indicating national auto loan delinquencies (the ratio of borrowers 60 or more days past due) will increase approximately 7 percent at the end of 2010 to 0.92 percent from an expected 0.86 percent at the conclusion of 2009.

It forecasts that Mississippi will have the highest delinquency rate in the nation at the conclusion of 2010 at 1.76 percent. Only one state, California, is expected to see a decline in auto loan delinquencies by the end of 2010.

“Our forecast indicates we will see auto loan delinquencies drop in the first and second quarters of 2010 due to many factors such as ‘cash for clunkers’ and tightening lending standards,” said Peter Turek, automotive vice president in TransUnion’s financial services group. “Delinquencies will rise in the second half of 2010 as economic pressures, along with traditional spending patterns of summer vacations, back to school and the holidays, will continue to strain consumers. While the rate of increase should be relatively mild, it is a cautionary number to those expecting an abrupt turnaround in the auto finance industry.”

The expected increase will be the fifth straight year the nation’s 60-day auto loan delinquency rate will have either remained the same or increased from the previous year. Between 2004 and 2005 the nation’s delinquency rate dropped 4.35 percent from 0.69 percent to 0.66 percent. In addition, the first half decrease in delinquency rates followed by a second half in the year increase also is consistent with the cyclical pattern of previous years, with a new baseline being set with each yearly increase.

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