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It looks like Americans are feeling more confident about borrowing money again, at least when it comes to their cars. Credit reporting giant Equifax has released its latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, and the data suggests that auto lending is booming in 2014.

The total amount of outstanding auto loans in the US amounted to $902.2 billion in the company's analysis. Not only was that a new record, it was also a 10-percent increase from a year ago. "Auto lending continues to thrive, accounting for more than fifty percent of all new non-mortgage lending through April of 2014," said Dennis Carlson, Deputy Chief Economist at Equifax, in the study.

The results mixed some bright spots with some seemingly worrying trends following the recent subprime credit crisis, though. According to the report, year-to-date new auto loans as of April 2014 reached $163.5 billion, the highest amount since 2005, and the number of them in that period was also at record levels. According to Carlson, the amount of delinquencies was at near-record lows of less than 1 percent of that $902 billion.

"Subprime lending has grown across all sectors in 2014. This is good news as a fully functioning second-chance market is essential for a healthy economy," said Carlson in the study. Auto loans to these buyers reached $46.2 billion year-to-date, an eight-year high, which made them about 28 percent of the total loan balance from this year.

The rest of the report indicated a strong credit market elsewhere too. Banks issued more credit cards, and overdue accounts were at a five-year low. The total amount in mortgages was actually down from last year, but delinquencies were lower as well. Want to know more? Scroll down.
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Equifax Reports Auto Loan Balances Hit All-Time High Mid-Way Through 2014 Outstanding Loan Balances Exceed $900 Billion for First Time in History

ATLANTA, July 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the latest Equifax (NYSE:EFX) National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the total balance of auto loans mid-way through 2014 is $902.2 billion, a record high and an increase of more than 10% from same time a year ago. In that same time, the total number of auto loans outstanding is more than 64 million.

"Auto lending continues to thrive, accounting for more than fifty percent of all new non-mortgage lending through April of 2014," said Dennis Carlson, Deputy Chief Economist at Equifax. "Lenders are responding to record low delinquencies by offering great rates and terms, while consumers are responding to the improving economic conditions by making the decision to purchase newer vehicles. Additionally, subprime lending has grown across all sectors in 2014. This is good news as a fully functioning second-chance market is essential for a healthy economy."

Despite record high balances, serious delinquencies on auto loans remain near all-time lows, representing less than 1% of total outstanding balances for the third consecutive month. In addition, the total balance of new credit originated for auto loans year-to-date in April is $163.5 billion, the highest since at least 2005.

Other highlights from the most recent Equifax data include:

Auto

The total number of new loans originated year-to-date in April is 8.1 million, an eight-year high;
The total number of new loans originated in that same time for subprime borrowers, or consumers with risk scores of 640 or lower, is 2.6 million, representing 32% of all auto loans originated today;
Similarly, the total balance of subprime auto loans is $46.2 billion, an eight-year high and representing 28.2% of the total balance of new auto loans.

Bank-issued credit card

The total balance of bank card credit outstanding increased by 2.2% in the second quarter, and by 2.6% year over year;
The total number of new cards issued through the first four months of 2014 was 15.5 million, a six-year high and an increase of 17.2% from same time a year ago;
Similarly, the total dollar amount of new credit originated in that same time is $77.4 billion, also a six-year high and an increase of 24.1% from same time a year ago;
Accounts 60-or-more-days past due (excluding write-offs) as a percentage of total loans is 1.60%, a year-over-year decrease of 11.7% and a five-year low.

First Mortgage

The total balance of first mortgages declined by 2.5% in the second quarter, but grew by 0.3% compared to the previous year;
Delinquent first mortgages, those 30-days or more past due, represent less than 4.78% of outstanding balances, a decrease of 22.9% from same time a year ago;
Similarly, the total balance of first mortgages 90-days past due or in foreclosure is less than $220 billion, a six year low and a decrease of more than 36.8% from same time a year ago.

Home Equity Revolving

The total balance outstanding on home equity revolving loans continues to decline, falling 5.4% in June from the same time last year;
The total limit of new credit year-to-date in April is 33.3 billion, an increase of 17.4% from same time a year ago, and the highest since 2008;
In that same time, more than 333,000 new loans were originated, realizing a five-year high and a year-over-year increase of 12%.

About Equifax, Inc.

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions that provide businesses of all sizes and consumers with insight and information they can trust. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide. The company's significant investments in differentiated data, its expertise in advanced analytics to explore and develop new multi-source data solutions, and its leading-edge proprietary technology enable it to create and deliver unparalleled customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 19 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. In 2013, Equifax was named a Bloomberg BusinessWeek Top 50 company, was #3 in Fortune's Most Admired list in its category, and was named to InfoWeek 500 as well as the FinTech 100. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.