Latest Auto Lending News

Here are the latest news in the world of consumer auto lending.  Stay informed on the latest practices affecting the cost of your next car loan and vehicle.

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  • In Loan Case, Jury Awards Independence Woman More Than $1 Million 
    Kansas City Star  31 Dec 2011
    A Missouri woman was awarded a court judgment of $1,198,512 after jurors determined that a finance firm had deceived her into making car payments for which she had no legal obligation. Carrie Peel bought a new vehicle for $12,450 in August 2008, putting $3,500 down and financing the remainder. When her 30-day temporary license tag was about to expire, she went to the Department of Revenue to license the car and discovered that the title was not included with the paperwork. She returned to the car dealership, only to find it shut down. When she contacted Credit Acceptance Corp., which had purchased her car loan from the now-defunct dealership, she was told that if she did not continue to pay, her credit would suffer. Peel continued to pay, even though the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act protects customers in such situations. Peel was unable to sell the car because she did not have the title and was stopped by law enforcement officers for driving an unlicensed vehicle. Jurors voted to award Peel $11,007.81 in damages and more than $1.18 million in punitive awards.
  • Default Rate for Auto Loans Continues to Fall 
    Automotive News 28 Dec 2011
    Auto loans performed more strongly than other major categories of consumer debt in November, part of a consistent pattern in consumer behavior, according to figures released by Standard & Poor's and Experian. The default rate for auto loans dropped to 1.17 percent last month, down from 1.22 percent in October and 1.77 percent in November 2010, based on the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Index. Meanwhile, the default rate for bank credit cards was 4.91 percent in November, up from 4.85 percent in October but down from 6.85 percent a year earlier. The average default rate for first mortgages increased in November from the month before to 2.17 percent. It was the third month in a row that first mortgage default rates increased, though the November 2011 figure was lower than the year-earlier pace of 3.06 percent. "In the last recession, there was definitely a shift in consumer behavior," said S&P's David Blitzer. "Traditionally -- in previous recessions -- people would do anything to hang on to their house; to make their mortgage payment. They might have six credit cards, all in arrears. This past recession people didn't always take that attitude." Web Link
  • Avoid Being "Yo-Yoed" Back to the Dealership After Purchasing a Car 
    Midland Reporter-Telegram 14 Dec 2011
    After letting customers drive away in a car believing that they had obtained financing, some automotive dealerships have attempted to secure a loan after the sale. When the customer's credit was turned away by several different lenders, the dealership demanded that the car be returned or renegotiated the rates without the customer's consent. If the borrowers came back with the car, the dealership kept their down payment to cover mileage put on the vehicle since it left the lot. When the customers requested back their trade-ins, the dealership said they had already been sold. The practice, referred to as "yo-yoing," is being analyzed by car buyers and consumer advocacy groups nationwide. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, one in eight car buyers earning less than $40,000 have experienced a yo-yo deal. For those making less than $25,000, the incident rate rises to 25 percent. To avoid being yo-yoed, the Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers research auto dealers at to ensure they are a reliable and trustworthy; do not leave the dealership until financing is approved; and read through all the paperwork to be sure all the terms are understood.
  • Auto Lending Rebound to Continue 
    Detroit Free Press 14 Dec 2011
    According to the most recent data from TransUnion, the lending environment for vehicle loans is improving for consumers, and fewer borrowers are behind on their payments. TransUnion estimates that for the last three months of the year, just 0.51 percent of borrowers with an auto loan will be 60 days or more past due. According to Peter Turek, automotive vice president in TransUnion's financial services business unit, the volume of financing for new and used cars is increasing, which will likely continue in 2012. Turek predicts that banks and auto loan financing firms likely will offer better rates and promotions next year as they vie for consumers' business. Additionally, he says that those with imperfect credit will be more likely to be able to obtain a new or used car loan because of the increase in competition.
  • Investors Place Big Bets on Buy Here Pay Here Used-Car Dealers 
    Los Angeles Times 01 Nov 2011
    Altamont Capital Partners of Palo Alto, Calif., and other investors are realizing a windfall in a little-noticed corner of the used-car industry known as Buy Here Pay Here. Many of these businesses require customers to return to the lot to make loan payments -- which is how they earned their name. If buyers default, as roughly 25 percent do, the dealer repossesses the vehicles and in many cases resells them. The dealerships earn an average profit of 38 percent on each sale, according to the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers, which is more than double the profit margin of conventional retail car chains. Investor funds are flowing into the industry from multiple sources, helping Buy Here Pay Here dealers expand their market share and boost their profile. In addition to private equity firms such as Altamont, several payday lending chains are dabbling in Buy Here Pay Here and have snapped up dealerships. Stock investors are purchasing shares in Buy Here Pay Here chains and other publicly traded companies in the business. Additionally, loans generated at the dealerships are being securitized, just like subprime mortgages were a few years ago, and sold to investors. The returns can prove lucrative, but analysts fret that the securitization boom could encourage dealers to lend recklessly. "We think that investing in such companies is a ticking time bomb," explains Pax World Management CEO Joe Keefe. "It has ethical as well as systemic risk implications."
  • Credit Probes Go Beyond Scores 
    Atlanta Journal-Constitution 14 Sep 2011
    When consumers apply for new loans, request a store credit card, or sign up for a cellphone, the companies they do business with may delve more deeply into their credit history than they used to. Following the Great Recession, more lenders are sifting through consumers' personal financial information in ways they have never done before, according to industry experts and consumer groups. Additionally, they are more likely to rely on information other than just a traditional credit score. Data companies are now collecting information relevant to consumers' job history, income, and net worth -- which lenders can use to flag anyone it considers a credit risk. Consumer groups acknowledge that lenders should take greater care in their lending practices but worry that incorrect conclusions could actually impede some creditworthy borrowers when they attempt to get loans.
  • Consumer Bureau Reaches Out to Military Families 
    New York Times 07 Sep 2011
    Regulators took note that military households were proving to be especially vulnerable to financial rip-offs following the financial crisis. After gathering information about unscrupulous mortgage lending practices, deceptive car loans, and other abusive financial products, the newly opened Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to hear from military families about what they found to be the best financial products and services tailored to them. According to the assistant director of the CFPB's Office of Servicemember Affairs, Holly Petraeus, the division is looking for information on homeowner assistance programs, such as loan modification services; financial education opportunities; and marketing and communication strategies. "Military families face unique challenges especially when it comes to their finances," Petraeus says. "By identifying the products and services that aim to assist their particular needs, our office will be able to better serve service members and their families." Comments from the public will be accepted via e-mail through Sept. 20.
  • U.S. Lenders Offer More Subprime Auto Loans 30 Aug 2011
    According to a new report from Experian Automotive, lenders are offering car buyers a larger number of subprime auto loans. The trend is a marked reversal from the tentative approach adopted several years ago after the industry lost money during the financial meltdown. Experian Automotive calculated that the number of car loans issued to subprime borrowers increased to 40.8 percent in the second quarter of the year, up from 37.2 percent a year earlier. According to the firm, the data reveals lenders are now eager to boost their loan books amid a stagnant U.S. economy. The likely reason behind the increase in loan disbursement is that car loans are perceived as a safer lending choice.
  • Top 10 Consumer Complaints 27 Jul 2011
    Unscrupulous auto dealers once again nabbed the top spot on the Consumer Federation of America's list for the highest number of complaints in 2010, followed by credit card issuers and debt relief companies in the number two position. The CFA compiles its list by polling 31 consumer groups from 18 states throughout the United States about the grievances they received. In total, the agencies surveyed received more than 252,000 complaints last year and delivered more than $208 million in restitution and savings for consumers. Complaints about home improvement/construction and retail sales tied for the third slot on the list. Rounding out the top 10 were complaints about utility service issues and billing disputes; inadequate work and misrepresentation about licensure by service companies; Internet sales scams; faulty furniture or appliance repairs; illegal eviction tactics by landlords; work-at-home schemes and fraudulent sweepstakes and lotteries; and telemarketers and mail solicitations that misrepresent or fail to deliver their services or that breach do-not-call rules.
  • Consumer Debt Rises For Eighth Straight Month 10 Jul 2011
    The Federal Reserve reports that consumer credit grew in May for the eighth month in a row, primarily as a result of credit card use. According to the data, credit rose by $5.08 billion after a revised $5.67 billion gain in April. Economists say that many consumers are using their credit cards to purchase necessities such as gas, groceries, and other day-to-day needs. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, rose by $3.37 in May after shrinking $877 million in April, marking the first gain this year and the biggest jump since June 2008. Non-revolving debt also was higher, climbing $1.71 billion in May after jumping $6.54 billion the previous month. To keep credit card debt under control, the Center for Responsible Lending recommends that consumers always pay more than the minimum amount due on the monthly bill. CRL says that doing so can save a consumer as much as $2 for every extra $1 they pay.
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