US Banks Pull Back On Car Loans

More news on the fears about the potential problems that could be caused by over-enthusiastic lending in the car loans sector. Banks in the USA are reported to be “pulling back” from the market. due to fears that car-buyers may be taking on more debt than they can maintain. A total of nearly $1.2 trillion was lent in the first quarter of this year, which is up nearly 70% on the 2010 figure.

The Financial Times reports

“But data released last week by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation showed the first sequential drop in car loans outstanding at commercial banks in at least six years. The total slipped $1.6bn to $440bn from the fourth quarter of last year to the first of this, suggesting that banks — wary of repeating the mistakes of the subprime mortgage crisis — have been spooked by rising delinquencies and the threat of litigation. One of the banks pulling back is Citizens Financial Group, the US’s ninth largest by assets. Bruce van Saun, chief executive, told the Financial Times he would rather steer resources into areas such as student loans. “We ran up auto for a while when there was not much else going on. Now we have growth in other areas which offer better risk-adjusted returns.” Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, the two biggest banks in the sector, saw first-quarter originations drop by double digits from the same period a year earlier. Even relatively aggressive specialists such as Capital One — which added a net $2bn to its $50bn car loan book over the first quarter — are toning down their outlook.”