U.S. auto loan debt grew $31 billion last quarter, accounting for nearly 25% of the overall consumer debt increase in the period, according to a Kroll Bond Ratings report released today. With the third-quarter gain, auto loan debt returned to levels last recorded in 2007, meaning that the sector continues to see strong growth.
Excluding mortgages and home equity loans, auto loans represent the second-largest segment of consumer debt balances, behind student loans. Credit cards, which were the largest non-mortgage debt class through 2009, have since dropped to the No. 3 spot, according to Kroll’s Consumer Credit Update.
Overall, consumer debt levels increased 1.1% ― or $127 billion ― in the third quarter, to $11.3 trillion. Kroll called the gain “the first substantial increase in consumer debt since the third quarter of 2008.”
As of Sept. 30, consumer debt levels were 11.0% below the third-quarter 2008 peak of $12.7 trillion.