Auto loan applications dropped 52% between the first and last week of March, with the COVID-19 economic crisis muting auto loan inquiries across the country, according to data released today from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Broken down by credit score, deep subprime inquiries by consumers with credit scores below 500 dropped 49%, and super prime consumers, with credit scores above 780, pushed through 67% fewer applications in the same time period.
Historically, super prime consumer applications increase during the month of March, and deep subprime applications decrease as the month progresses, but not at the rate recorded by the CFPB in March.
Moreover, the consumer watchdog’s data notes that while geographic hot spots of decreased loan applications can be traced, every state posted a decline. California, Michigan and Nevada had the largest percent change in inquiries, while Mississippi, Kansas, Oregon, Utah and Idaho “experienced more modest declines.”
The CFPB’s analysis follows several auto financiers reporting major drops in origination volumes and loan applications. Capital One Auto Finance, for one, saw weekly dealer loan applications drop 35% YoY in the second half of March, followed by a 25% decline YoY in the first half of April.