Timing Matters.

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Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Chronometer

Crisis /krīsis/: A turning point that results in a battle over loss allocation.

Will there be a crisis? Are we near one?

Practices and factors similar to those contributing to the subprime mortgage meltdown are now impacting subprime auto lending and related ABS. The gauges reflect our take on how they are impacting risks for lenders and investors.

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The Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Chronometer shows the risk of battles over loss allocation.
Mar 2019
Lending Practices and Factors i
Subprime originations have trended down but securitization volume continues to increase. Subprime delinquencies in the secondary market are on the rise and have surpassed peak levels. Risky practices are exposing specific lenders and their investors to losses, as evidenced by the closure of a number of smaller subprime auto lenders earlier this year.
ABS Practices and Factors i
Credit enhancements such as excess spread, overcollateralization and subordination have increased in new deals and continue to create a buffer from riskiest lending practices. Investors have not yet felt the sting of riskiest practices.
Auto Market Risks i
New and used vehicle prices are at all-time highs, but sales incentives and high supply of off-lease vehicles are accelerating depreciation and driving up negative equity on trade-ins. Advances in technology will likely accelerate depreciation further.

Timing Matters.

Stay Ahead with Credit Chronometer.

Latest Posts

As we said in our last post regarding vulnerability in credit enhancements and litigation risk, subprime auto ABS investors have historically slept easy in light of ample credit enhancements that have provided a protective cushion from losses. Based on the reactions, it seems some have been stirred from their slumber. The question now is what’s next?  Will market participants, after kicking the tires, find reason for alarm or will they hit the “snooze” button and go back to sleep? To paraphrase the Bard, “Aye, there’s the rub – for in that sleep what dreams may come.”

Several events have occurred recently warranting a recalculation of the Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Chronometer’s measurement of the overall risk of loss allocation battles. …

Historically, investors in subprime auto asset-backed securities (ABS) have been able to sleep well at night. They have rested easy in part because credit enhancements in securitizations have protected them from losses.  Today, due in large part to the safety expected from credit enhancements, rumblings about the parallels between subprime auto lending and pre-financial crisis subprime mortgage lending – and the cataclysmic end those parallels could portend – have barely disturbed the subprime auto ABS market.

Overcollateralization (O/C) rates are often touted as particularly protective for subprime auto ABS.  It’s true, of course: As investors have rightfully demanded greater O/C rates on riskier pools,…

The massive data breach at Equifax has quickly spurred a number of lawsuits on behalf of consumers. That was to be expected. Far more surprising is the fact that financial institutions have started to pile on, filing their own suits against the credit reporting agency. It’s a bold strategy, and one that carries considerable risk. Any financial institution that is claiming victim status in this disaster that has personally affected half the U.S. population, and that is competing with individual consumers for money damages, could see its efforts backfire. In fact, it is easy to imagine the financial institutions’ lawsuits drawing such unflattering attention to their dealings with credit reporting agencies that they redirect the public ire,…

Originations and Issuances, by the Numbers

New mortgage originations reached $421 billion in Q2 2017, down from $427 billion in Q2 2016 (a 1.41% decrease). Housing debt reached $9.14 trillion in Q2 2017, up from $8.84 trillion in Q2 2016 (a 3.82% increase). Housing debt, at 68% of the $12.8 trillion in national household debt, continues to be far and away the leading form of consumer debt in the United States. Even so, quarterly originations are less than half than they were at their peak of $869 billion in Q3 2005,…

ABS Issuances, by the Numbers

Nine ABS deals totaling $3 billion closed in Q2 2017, a 76% increase from Q2 2016. Q2 ABS issuances included approximately $2 billion in consumer (up 28% versus Q1 2017) and approximately $1 billion in student (down 5% versus Q1 2017). All deals were rated. Total ABS issuance is expected to be over $11 billion in 2017.

Performance and Practices

Performance continued to weaken as delinquencies and charge-offs increased in Q2 for personal, student, and subprime auto loans. Prime credit card portfolios are showing multi-decade delinquency rate lows….