TransUnion said Monday that customers at least 60 days past due on repaying auto loans fell 6 percent during the fourth quarter compared with the same period a year earlier.
The 60-day delinquency rate on auto loans dropped to 0.81 percent. The delinquency rate was unchanged from the third quarter.
Auto loan delinquencies could be improving because of more favorable terms and deals in recent months for new cars, including the government's Cash for Clunkers program, Peter Turek, TransUnion's automotive vice president in its financial services business unit, said in a release.
The improving trends in auto loan delinquencies came as more customers fall behind on repaying mortgages and credit card debt.
The credit data provider said 6.89 percent of mortgage borrowers were at least two months behind on payments during the fourth quarter. It was the 12th straight quarter the delinquency rate rose.
The delinquency rate, which is seen as a precursor to foreclosures, was 6.25 percent during the third quarter and 4.58 percent during the final quarter in 2008.
Mortgage delinquencies and defaults remain a major problem facing the economy. A collapse in home sales and prices, as well as rising defaults, helped push the country into recession. Signs of a recovery in the market have been slow and uneven in recent months.
Credit card delinquencies also rose. Customers at least three months late on making a credit card payment rose to 1.21 percent during the final three months of 2009. However, average credit card debt fell to $5,434 from $5,729 during the same quarter a year earlier.
TransUnion tracks the data by randomly sampling 27 million anonymous consumer records every quarter from its national consumer credit database.
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