The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released a report on auto loan trends that found a sharp increase in riskier longer-term auto loans, with a move towards wider adoption of six-year paybacks.
According to the report, 42% of auto loans made in the last year carried a payback term of six years or more, compared to just 26% in 2009. This growth has largely come at the expense of five-year loans, which declined over the same period.
The average credit score for borrowers who take out six-year loans is 674, which is 39 points below the average for borrowers who take out five-year loans, while the average loan amount was $25,300, compared to $20,100 for a five-year loan.
In recent years, loans of six years or longer have had default rates that exceeded 8%, whereas shorter-term loans have had default rates closer to 4%.
In addition, in the US the average length of ownership of a vehicle is approximately 6.5 years. This means that many consumers might still owe on loans after they are no longer driving the vehicle, the CFPB warns.