Chicago, Illinois – Fewer Americans were delinquent on their auto loans this year, according to credit information firm TransUnion. The number of auto loan borrowers 60 or more days past due fell 19.7 per cent between the first and second quarters of 2010, to 0.53 per cent.

The year-over-year delinquency rate fell by 27.4 per cent in the second quarter, the company said.

Auto loan delinquency was highest in Mississippi and Louisiana, while the lowest were in North Dakota, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The largest improvements from the first quarter to the second were in Vermont and Connecticut.

The average amount a borrower owed rose from US$12,501 in the first quarter to $12,643 in the second. The District of Columbia held the largest average auto debt burden at $15,625, followed by Wyoming at $14,534. Those in Nebraska owed the least, at $11,118.

“The national trend we are seeing continues to point to a clear improvement in payment behaviour,” said Peter Turek, automotive vice-president of TransUnion. “Although part of the reason for the turnaround in delinquency rates is the influx of new, lower-risk loans as we have noted before, consumers do not see a quick fix to the short-term economic and employment situation, and are focusing their attention instead on savings and lower consumption of discretionary goods. This movement toward fiscal responsibility is reflected in year-over-year results, as auto delinquency rates have now dropped 27.4 per cent since second-quarter 2009, the largest decline since the summer of 2001.”

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