As more consumers default on credit card and auto loan payments, financial strain intensifies as the Federal Reserve's interest rate hiking campaign stands at two-decade highs, potentially leading to a surge in vehicle repossessions.
A recent Moody's report showed new credit card delinquencies hit 7.2% in the second quarter, up from 6.5% in the first quarter. As for new auto loan delinquencies, the rate topped 7.3%, compared with 6.9% in the first quarter.
Moody's expects new credit card and auto loan delinquencies to continue "rising materially" through the rest of the year and top sometime in 2024 at 9% and 10%, compared with 7% pre-Covid.
"The increase in delinquencies and defaults is symptomatic of the tough decisions that these households are having to make right now — whether to pay their credit card bills, their rent or buy groceries," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told The Washington Post.
A weakening labor market and tapped-out consumers, some of whom have $1,000 monthly auto payments, are finding it difficult to pay not just shelter costs, put food on the table, but service their car payments. We've outlined to readers in the last three quarters, "Massive Wave" Of Car Repossessions And Loan Defaults To Trigger Auto Market Disaster, Cripple US Economy and Negative Equity Surges: More Consumers Find Themselves In Underwater Auto Loans -- and it's only a matter of time before the repo wave begins. We noted in July that Repos From Auto Loans That Originated In 2020 And 2021 Are Skyrocketing.
"The Fed might look at this and say this is the whole purpose of raising rates, to make it more difficult" to make purchases, Zandi said, adding, "The bigger question is when the Fed will have succeeded in slowing down the broader economy, and how many consumers have to be impacted in a negative way."
Delinquency on auto loan payments is a sign that the Fed's restrictive monetary policy might be working to quash inflation, which leaves the economy in a heightened period of macroeconomic uncertainty as low/mid-tier consumers appear to be financially cracking.
So, as per Moody's report, auto loan delinquencies are set to rise even higher. In a world where robots are being integrated into every business model, we found one towing company in the UK using a robot to move illegally parked cars.
Although the video doesn't show a repossession, a repo company can only imagine integrating robots into vehicle retrieval will provide much-needed relief to avoid unwanted confrontations with car owners.
It's only a matter of time before repo companies adopt these robots.