In a Subprime Bubble for Used Cars, Borrowers Pay Sky-High Rates
Auto loans to subprime borrowers have risen more than 130 percent in the past five years, driven by the same dynamics at work in subprime mortgages during the financial crisis. High rates and steady profits on the loans are attracting investors including some of the nation’s biggest banks and private equity firms. They are then bundled into complex bonds and sold as securities by banks. The loans are typically at least twice the size of the value of the used cars purchased and can come with interest rates above 23 percent. Many of the loans include battered vehicles with mechanical defects hidden from borrowers and recorded incorrect income about the borrowers' income and employment.