agencies may want to turn their attention to the automotive industry, as auto loan originations between January and August reached their highest total since 2007, according to a recent Equifax report. "Sustained recent consumer demand for auto leasing, financing and purchase has driven a return of this portfolio to pre-recession numbers more rapidly than any other lending sector," said Amy Crews-Cutts, chief economist at Equifax. The auto industry is responsible for a large portion of short term lending
, as total loan balances through October exceeded $770 billion. The average loan amount in August reached nearly $19,500, the highest mark in six years, and new automobile loans also hit a six-year high. Auto finance company lending and bank, savings and credit union loans have also increased significantly, reaching five and seven-year highs, respectively. A separate report by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive revealed that auto sales are on the upswing after a minor dip because of Hurricane Sandy. November new-vehicle sales are expected to see a 14 percent year-over-year increase from November 2011, while light-vehicle sales are projected to experience a 12 percent year-over-year growth.