Auto loan delinquencies rose slightly during the third quarter as finance companies continue loading up subprime loans.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported this week that auto loan delinquencies increased during the third quarter and noted that auto finance companies continued to load up subprime loans as they labored to keep the boom in car sales afloat again this year.

The increase in auto-loan delinquencies was a rather modest 2.4% in the quarter ending Sept. 30, compared with 2.3% in the second quarter ending June 30, according to the Center for Microeconomic Data’s Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit.

The report also said that total consumer debt increased by $116 billion or 0.9% to $12.96 trillion in the third quarter of 2017. 

“Delinquency flows across several debt types climbed this quarter, including for auto loans,” said Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed.

(New car fuel economy average continues to sink. For the story, Click Here.)

Finance companies are taking more subprime loans in order to keep the sales boom going.

The “flows into delinquency” deteriorated somewhat—with auto loans and credit card debt seeing persistent increases, the report said. Total auto loan debt now stands at $1.21 trillion.

“Examining the auto loan market more closely revealed notable differences between auto finance and bank lenders. Delinquency rates among auto finance lenders are considerably higher and rising, especially for subprime borrowers, in part reflecting differences in underwriting standards,” van der Klaauw added.

(Click Here to see more about October auto sales.)

Auto loan originations were at $150.6 billion, up slightly from the previous quarter, marking the second highest level in more than a decade, the report from The New York Fed also noted.

On the other hand, mortgage balances and originations increased, and the median credit scores of borrowers for new mortgages increased slightly.

In addition, in contrast to auto lending, the share of mortgage balances that were 90 or more days delinquent continued to improve, printing at 1.4% in the third quarter, down from 1.7% at the beginning of 2017, and substantially improved from the 8.9% high reached in 2010.

(To see more about why half the vehicles on U.S. roads will be electrified by 2030, Click Here.)

The report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample of individual- and household-level debt and credit records drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.

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