Subprime is back, just not for home lending
The financial crisis did not kill subprime loans, but it definitely changed what loan types borrowers and lenders are willing to go "subprime" on.
Truth be told, subprime loans were created for the specific purpose of ensuring financial vehicles are available to Americans with damaged credit histories.
Today, lenders see growth in subprime auto lending, but the mortgage market is likely to take more time.
In FICO's recent survey of bank risk professionals, 50% of lenders said they expect to see an increase in subprime auto borrowing in 2012, while only 38% and 12% predict the same fate for subprime credit cards and residential mortgages.
FICO noted a loosening of credit conditions in the auto finance market, while lenders remain less willing, or unable, to grow their subprime mortgage segment.
It seems consumers agree with this sentiment since credit conditions in auto lending are loosening to meet increased subprime auto demand, according to FICO.
The data shows subprime is definitely not dead, but it's still limited to loan types with lower principals and less risk.
In other words, borrowers and lenders are less likely to take on subprime borrowers for home loans, but car loans — where repossession is easy — continue to have a robust subprime market.