HANOVER, Md. — For the first time, the National Auto Finance Association's Non-Prime Auto Financing Survey featured metrics by FICO score, loan-to-value and term.

Along with the usual annual statistics such as delinquencies and charge-offs, the report also analyzed new information on dealer reserves, contract and buy rates, in addition to portfolio profitability.

Basically, the survey covers year-end 2007 data and was conducted by BenchMark Consulting International.

It kicked off by revealing that the companies that participated in the study, a total of 26, were broken down into three various class segments: small, which is considered up to 10,000 accounts; medium, which covered companies with 10,001 to 100,000 accounts; and large, which consisted of institutions with more than 100,000 accounts.

Under this breakdown, the report revealed that 11 of the companies analyzed came from the small segments, eight from the medium class and seven from the large.

Overall, total accounts reviewed reached more than 3.1 million, with total principal coming in at more than $39.8 billion for all participating companies.

For institutions that submitted responses in both 2006 and 2007, year-over-year trends were analyzed.

Overall, contract volume for new vehicles was down 3 percent, but up 14 percent for used. Meanwhile, book-to-look came in down 33 percent for new and down 31 percent for used.

As for FICO scores, Benchmark found they were up an average of 7 points for new units and up 5 points for used. Amount-to-fund was down 1 percent for both new and used vehicles.

Continuing on, loan-to-value was down five basis points, while for used vehicles Benchmark indicated this statistic was not available.

Reviewing extended term, the company found for new vehicles this was up 7 percent and for used, this was up 13 percent.

"Extended terms continue to be a concern, with more than 80 percent of booked new-vehicle contracts having a term greater than 60 months," Rich Apicella, of Benchmark explained to SubPrime Auto Finance News.

Average repossession loss was also up 11 percent, according to the study.

Looking specifically at new-vehicle trends, the report discovered:

—Contract volume was 30,529 in 2006 versus 29,578 in 2007.

—Book-to-look was 6 percent in the prior year compared with 4 percent last year.

—FICO came in at 563 in 2006 as opposed to 570 in 2007.

—Amount-to-fund was $21,757 in the previous year, compared with $21,478 last year.

—Loan-to-value was 111 percent in 2006 versus 106 percent in 2007.

—Extended term was 85 percent of originations in 2006, compared with 91 percent in 2007.

As for used, the company found:

—Contract volume was 60,668 in 2007 versus 53,449 in 2006.

—Book-to-look was 11 percent last year, compared with 16 percent in the year prior.

—FICO was 542 in 2007, up from 537 in 2006.

—Amount-to-fund came in at $13,450 in 2007 versus $13,587 in 2006.

—Extend term accounted for 60 percent of originations in 2007, compared with 53 percent.

Next, the study moved on to review portfolio details. Looking at cost of funds, the results found there was a "significant variance across participant groups." For instance, the small class reported this was 7.30 percent, while it was 5.10 percent for the medium category. The large class came in at 5.19 percent and overall the trend was 5.82 percent.

Analyzing sourcing channels, the survey reported that 71 percent of companies used dealer application entry portals, while close behind was dealers via fax, phone and Internet at 67 percent.

Proprietary online systems accounts for 17 percent, while flow partner represented 25 percent. Finally, consumer via Web was 21 percent and branch was 17 percent.

Overall, a "majority of applications were sourced directly from dealers," the data revealed.

Along with channels, the company studied originations by class size. Discoveries included that auto-decisioned applications were most popular at medium companies, with small right behind at 65 percent. Large accounted for 29 percent, with the overall trend averaging to 48 percent.

As for conditioned approvals, this was also most popular with medium companies, with small coming next at 42 percent, matching the overall trend of 42 percent. For large companies, this trend was 32 percent.

When it came to initially unbookable contracts, the study found that small companies ranked first at 12 percent, with large companies and the overall trend coming next at 10 percent. For medium companies this figure was 6 percent.

Furthermore, the data showed that more than half of companies said no dealer reserve was paid up-front.

Moreover, 57 percent of companies surveyed indicated they don't use behavioral scoring, about 26 percent said at 30 days, and 4 percent reporting next delinquency stage.

"Similar to last year, more than half of respondents did not use behavioral scoring (52 percent of last year's respondents did not use behavioral scoring)," according to officials, who said this is an improvement opportunity for many finance sources.

Additionally, the small class accounted for the highest account bankruptcy rate at 4.10 percent, with medium coming in at 1.20 percent and large reporting this at 1.95 percent. The overall average came in at 2.55 percent, up from 2.09 percent in 2006.

The average net loss per unit for repossession reached $6,825, compared with $6,804 in the prior year. Average cost of sale per unit was $474.

Looking at bankruptcies, the study found average net loss per unit was $7,616, with average cost of sale per unit coming in at $820.

Moving on to credit quality, for new vehicle FICO by delinquency band was:

31-60 days: 534

61-90 days: 533

Greater than 90 days: 522.

Used vehicle FICO by delinquency band came in at:

31-60 days: 527

61-90 days: 526

Greater than 90 days: 518

The average FICO score of new-unit gross charge-offs was 531 and came in at the same figure for used gross charge-offs.

"Although average credit quality for booked loans increased slightly, book-to-look rates declined more than 30 percent, perhaps reflecting increased competition in the nonprime marketplace during 2007," noted Apicella.

"Advances also continue to be high, with 82 percent of used contracts having an LTV greater than 100 percent," he added. 

The complete survey, including more details, is now available and is distributed at no cost to the companies that participated, along with NAF Association members not eligible to participate in the survey.

For others, the cost is $300. Visit www.nafassociation.com to order a copy online.