WASHINGTON — The last time the average interest rate for new-car loans at auto finance companies climbed above 5 percent was in the second quarter of last year.

In fact, the median rate hasn't beaten this February's figure since 2005 when it was 6.02 percent, according to the Federal Reserve. 

The latest statistics found that February's average interest rate for a new car was 5.37 percent, compared with 4.97 percent in January and 4.33 percent in December of last year.

In terms of average pay-off length for this type of loan, February's figure was 63.2 months, compared with 62.3 in January and 62.5 in December. The last time the average term reached 63 months was back in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Meanwhile, the loan-to-value ratio came in at 95, compared with 94 in January and 95 in December.

The amount financed declined a bit to $28,118, compared with $28,231 in January and $29,076 in December.

For a 48-month new-car loan at commercial banks, the median interest rate was 7.27 percent. While this statistic is not available for January or December, it was reported at 7.59 percent for the fourth quarter of last year and 7.82 percent for the third quarter.

The Federal Reserve stated, "Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in February; revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6 percent; and non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent."