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A Record Number of Americans Are 90 Days Behind on Their Car Payments

Motor Vehicle Loans Owned and Securitized, Outstanding 1968 - 2018 (billions of dollars). CHART SOURCE: Winter Watch/FRED
  • More than 7 million Americans are at least 90 days behind on their auto loans, according to the New York Fed.
  • That’s higher than the peak in 2010 as the country was still reeling from the devastating financial crisis.
  • The “number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market and warrants continued monitoring and analysis of this sector,” Fed economists say.

By Jeff Cox | 12 February 2019

CNBC — As auto loan debt has soared, so has the number of people who can’t pay, with the level of serious delinquencies breaking past the heights reached just after the financial crisis.

More than 7 million Americans are 90 days or more behind on their vehicle loans as of the end of 2018, according to data released Tuesday by the New York Federal Reserve. That’s more than 1 million higher than the peak in 2010 as the country was recovering from its worst downturn since the Great Depression. …

The surge in delinquencies came along with a $584 billion jump in total auto loan debt, the highest increase since the New York Fed began keeping track 19 years ago. …

Overall, household debt rose by $32 billion, or 0.2 percent, to $13.54 trillion in the fourth quarter. That’s $869 billion higher than the crisis peak of $12.68 trillion and is 21.4 percent above the post-crisis low point in the second quarter of 2013.

Student loan debt edged higher to $1.46 trillion while credit card balances rose to $870 billion, right around their crisis peak. […]

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