Auto-finance credit performance wobbles as weekly jobless claims stay near 1 million


Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) spotted weakening credit performance during the August collection period when analysts examined September auto-finance remittance reports.

And the latest unemployment update from the U.S. Department of Labor showed that initial claims for unemployment benefits arriving into federal and state systems each week continue to be near or even above 1 million.

The Labor Department reported on Thursday that for the week ending Oct. 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims came in at 898,000. While that weekly figure has been near that level since June, it’s significantly below the readings that were well above 4 million federal officials tabulated in March, April and May.

According to the department’s latest update, the total number of people claiming benefits in all unemployment programs for the week ending Sept. 26 was 25,290,325.

That total displaced worker count might reinforce what discovered when looking at auto-finance performance in August collection period.

The firm said early- and late-stage delinquencies in the KBRA Prime Auto Loan Index rose 9 basis points and 5 basis points month-over-month to 0.89% and 0.37%, respectively.

Analysts then said early- and late-stage delinquencies in the KBRA Non-Prime Auto Loan Index climbed to 6.38% and 3.76%, respectively, representing rise of 47 basis points and 33 basis points versus the previous month.

However, KBRA pointed out that both delinquency metrics remain “meaningfully lower” on a year-over-year basis.

“Meanwhile, a strong used-car market and lower delinquency rates over the past six months, stemming from federal stimulus and payment relief programs, have helped push annualized net loss rates to their lowest levels in years,” analysts said in the firm’s latest report.

“Further stimulus, which at this point is very much up in the air, and a continuing labor market recovery could help soften the blow, but we still expect seasonal trends and the end of payment holidays for many borrowers to continue to push delinquency rates higher into year end, leading to elevated charge-off rates and annualized net losses in 2021,” they went on to say.

KBRA mentioned that its latest analysis September’s asset-level disclosures also showed mixed credit metrics in another area.

Analysts found that the percentage of prime and non-prime contract holders who went from 30 days delinquent to current fell to 33.4% and 27.4%, respectively. They said those readings dropped 53 basis points and 554 basis points versus the previous month, “which in both cases is slightly below their pre-pandemic levels.”

KBRA went on to note that the percentage of prime customers who rolled from more than 60 days past due to charge-off fell to 13.5%, declining 381 basis points month-over-month. While the firm indicated the non-prime roll rate into charge-off increased 66 basis points to 18.1%, “this is still well below pre-pandemic levels,” analysts said.

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