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Auto loan sector nearing pre-recession levels

Oct 15, 2011 Randy Mosteller

While wider market conditions continue to reel from economic uncertainty, the auto financing sector seem to be returning to its pre-recession comfort zones, according to the most automotive consumer trends report from Equifax. The report, released Tuesday, found new auto loan originations between January and June of this year were up 15 percent from the same period in 2010. June figures were slightly lower than in March, but still maintained an 11 percent increase over June 2010. Compared to conditions before the economy tanked, total auto loan originations are only slightly behind, with 9.6 million originations in the first half of this year, compared to more than 10 million from 2006 to 2008. "Auto lending continues to be one of the most promising lending sectors today based on the data," said Michael Koukounas, senior vice president of special client services at Equifax. "If this momentum can be maintained through the remainder of the year, 2011 year-end totals should reflect a comparable return to normalcy to pre-recession lending levels."