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Pandemic Impacts on Auto Lending: Why Your Portfolio Protection Program Is More Important Than Ever

Insights into the impacts of COVID-19 on the auto purchase and lending marketplace.

By: Trace Ledbetter

Experian is a global leader in consumer and business credit reporting services, with decades of experience gathering, analyzing, and processing financial data for consumer and business use. One of the firm’s regular outputs is the “State of the Auto Finance Market,” an automotive industry finance market report released quarterly. In the second quarter of 2020, this report included the impacts of COVID-19 on the auto purchase and lending marketplace for the first time.

Auto purchase

The insights shared within this report are interesting, to say the least, and shine a light on why a strong, reliable portfolio protection program will be more important than ever for automotive lenders in the months and years to come.

Coronavirus and Cars: Ups and Downs in 2020 So Far

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide ripples of impact across the globe and has touched every industry and all aspects of the American economy. As the U.S. and other world economies return slowly to something resembling normalcy, there has been improvement in unemployment and consumer confidence; however, many challenges still remain and will continue to affect consumer behavior years into the future.

As a leading economic indicator, the automotive industry is one reflection of those changes and challenges. Unsurprisingly, in the late first quarter and early second quarter of 2020, the auto industry saw a dramatic decline in sales. Though sales have rebounded significantly in the third quarter, the overall industry is expected to be down year-over-year by 5%. Consumer buying patterns have also shifted, with new vehicle sales down 10.6%, while used vehicles are experiencing a surge in sales.

Higher Balances, Longer Loan Terms: Record high new loan amounts drive increased payments

Automotive loan patterns have changed as well. The average new vehicle loan amount is currently $36,072, which is roughly $4,000 higher than last year, and the average payment on these loans is about $20 higher per month. Used vehicle trends are the same, but to a lesser degree — the average used vehicle loan amount is currently $20,916, roughly $800 higher than last year, and the average payment on these loans is about $5 higher per month.

These changes become even more interesting when looking at the loan term and borrower credit composition. Over the past year, the average new vehicle loan term has increased to 71.54 months, while used vehicles averaged a term of 65.3 months. Nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime borrowers comprised 32.44% of total new vehicle borrowers and 51.27% of total used vehicle borrowers.

All of these changes to automotive borrowing patterns mean that auto lenders will have to be diligent about managing their organizational risk. An important part of that vigilance will include having strong, reliable programs in place to protect their businesses against uninsured borrowers as well as auto loan delinquencies and charge-offs.

At State National we focus our full attention on creating the best of these programs, and as a company we invest our time and resources in continual upgrades and enhancements. This enables us to offer robust, unique portfolio protection solutions that provides financial institutions what they value most in a partner.

In fact, we tried counting the many features and benefits that lead smart financial institutions to choose State National for insurance tracking and collateral protection insurance — and made it to 101 reasons before we stopped counting!

1. The most advanced technology and ease of use
2. The most detailed and comprehensive insurance tracking
3. Faster and more efficient claims payment processes
4. The most robust, easy-to-access program management and reporting
5. Greater transparency and immediate visibility to borrower interactions
6. Proactive, non-disruptive borrower notifications for minimal borrower friction
7. Unparalleled service with responsive communication and prompt resolution

To see the rest of the 101 advantages you should expect from your institution’s portfolio protection partner, download “Portfolio Protection Program Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist” today.


 Trace Ledbetter is Executive Vice President at State National Companies, where he directs and oversees delivery of all services and products for Lender Services, including customer relationship management, underwriting, and claims.

At State National we focus our full attention creating the best of these programs, and as a company we invest our time and resources in continual upgrades and enhancements. This enables us to offer robust, unique portfolio protection solutions that provides financial institutions what they value most in a partner.