FICO Labs Finds Significant Decline in Risk of Defaults on New Auto Loans

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MINNEAPOLIS—August 24, 2010—FICO research has found that risk on new auto loans in the U.S. is decreasing. FICO found lower delinquency rates and better performance on new auto loans that were opened in May-June 2009 compared to new auto loans opened in May-June 2008. FICO’s findings are true across the entire FICO® Score range.

For example, in the 12 months ending April 2010, approximately one out of every 411 borrowers with a FICO® Score of 720 or higher became 60-days delinquent or more on a new auto loan opened in May-June 2009. In the previous year, approximately one out of every 288 borrowers in the same score range became 60-days delinquent or more on a new auto loan.

“The improved performance on new car loans is the result of a more cautious lending environment,” said Rachel Bell, FICO’s senior director, global scoring solutions, and a member of FICO Labs -- the company’s research arm. “As with other types of loans, such as mortgages and credit cards, underwriting standards for car loans have become stricter over the past couple years. In addition, many consumers aren’t feeling too confident about the economy. This seems to have made them less likely to splurge on big-ticket purchases, unless they feel that they can handle the additional debt.”

FICO’s analysis of new auto loans was based on a nationwide sample of consumer credit data. Credit scores were calculated using the FICO® 8 scoring model. For more information about trends in credit risk, contact Jeff Scott for FICO at 408-884-4017 or

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