The Declining Car Loan

December 17, 2019

What's happening to car loans in America? A Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey of consumer credit out this week showed a spike in the rate of auto-loan rejections, to 8.1 percent in October from 4.5 percent last October. For the full year, the average rate of car-loan rejections was 7.1 percent, up from 6.1 percent for 2018.

But at the same time, applicants reported fewer denials in other parts of the $14 trillion consumer debt market for the same period. Rejection rates for credit cards, mortgages, and mortgage refinance applications all declined compared to 2018.

Indeed, for the most part, the availability of credit has been increasing. The percentage who applied and were granted credit over the last 12 months increased 1.2 percentage points to 37.7 percent in 2019. The proportion who were rejected declined from 9.1 percent in 2018 to 8.0 percent in 2019.