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Leaders in Lending | Ep. 140

2024 Auto Trends: Financing, Sales, and Consumer Behavior

On today’s episode, host Matt Snow is joined by Melinda Zabritski, Sr. Director at Experian Automotive, and Mark Pregmon, Head of Credit Operations at USAA to discuss the shifting auto landscape in 2024. 



Mark Pregmon

Mark Pregmon is Head of Credit Operations at USAA. He specializes in Consumer and Mortgage Lending, Retail Banking and Commercial Loan Servicing. With expertise in P&L management, sales, product development, and risk management, Mark has a proven track record across various lending products including Auto, Home Equity, Credit Cards, and Small Business Loans. Mark's contributions extend beyond their role, as he has served as a dedicated Committee Member for CBA Membership since 2012, actively shaping industry practices within the Consumer Bankers Association.


Melinda Zabritski

Melinda Zabritski is Senior Director for Experian Automotive, responsible for Experian’s products and services specific to the automotive credit and lending
industry, as well as the business unit’s thought leadership efforts.
Throughout her career with Experian, Zabritski has overseen the marketing strategy for the development of Experian’s automotive credit vertical sales
channel; she also has launched and managed numerous credit products geared toward automotive lenders and dealers. Additionally, she serves as Experian’s primary analyst and spokesperson regarding key automotive finance trends.
Prior to joining Experian in 2004, Zabritski held various product management and analyst positions at Equifax, where she managed and developed credit risk models and market trending and forecasting tools. During that time, she also was
responsible for managing the business’s prescreen and account management product lines.
Zabritski holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Ariz., and a Bachelor of Science in political science and urban government from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.




The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) is the only member-driven trade association focused exclusively on retail banking. Whether buying a home, financing an education or launching a small business, since 1919, our members have partnered with consumers to help them achieve the American dream.  Our Corporate Members include the nation's largest retail banks, with 85% holding over $10 billion in assets. Our Associate Members represent the premier providers of goods and services to banks. Member loyalty is reflected in our membership renewal rate, which consistently remains above 90 percent. Our 14 standing committees, subcommittees and working groups include top executives from our member banks with expertise in each segment of retail banking. The Consumer Bankers Association partners with the nation's leading retail banks to promote sound policy, prepare the next generation of diverse bankers to lead the industry, and finance the dreams of consumers and small businesses.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. Why concerns surrounding affordability persist, despite the rise in average loan amounts

  2. The challenges hindering EV adoption
  3. How limited inventory impacts affects loan-to-value ratios and shapes consumer purchasing patterns
  4. Growing delinquency rates, and what they may be attributed to


Whether due to rapid technological innovations or economic factors, the landscape of auto sales and lending is shifting more rapidly than ever.

In times like these, adaptation is crucial for survival — consumer feedback, market dynamics, and more all require a close eye to move forward with confidence.

That’s why Melinda Zabritski, Sr. Director at Experian Automotive, and Mark Pregmon, Head of Credit Operations at USAA, are here to help make sense of the moment and provide a foundation for navigating 2024 auto trends.  

From rising credit scores to shifting loan amounts, Mark and Melinda’s combined experience offers a well-rounded view of the current landscape.

Why concerns surrounding affordability persist, despite the shift in average loan amounts (+ consumer behavior)

Affordability is top of mind for many in the auto industry. And with improved availability on the rise — despite origination suppression — it’s been a welcome sight to see loan rate growth go down over the last six to eight months. 

“Average new loan amounts have been hovering around 40,000, used has come down a bit as well, still high, but of course, the rising interest rates continue to push those payments even higher,” Melinda said. “And then with those rates, and now incentives coming back, there's been a lot of shifting shares, as far as who's doing the originating.”

However, shifting loan amounts are not the only consideration when looking at affordability; the cost of car ownership rose by 20 percent in 2023.

“If you look at the average cost of last year versus today, with interest rates going up, the cost to insure and gas — it's almost a $240 a month difference between now and this time last year. It's huge,” Mark said. “That's what's impacting affordability in general.”

How are consumers responding to this landscape? Contrary to assumptions, consumers are not turning to cars and away from trucks and SUVs. Though trucks and SUVs have higher price points than cars, manufacturers are also not making as many cars, leading to consumers not shying away from larger models.

“Leasing is coming back, so that's helping, because that's bringing a lower payment. But consumer behavior hasn't changed. The most interesting shift in consumer behavior that I've seen in the data is with the rising interest rates is cash,” Melinda said. “We've seen a lot more cash coming to the market.”

The average percentage was around 15 percent cash. Today, that number sits at over 20 percent for new, and a little over 60% for used. According to Melinda, this change went hand in hand with the rising interest rates. 

Current auto loan trends and possible repercussions

When we look at the used car market, much of its operations are contingent upon off-lease vehicles, a constant supply of late-model used vehicles coming back into the market. Returns are still going strong from three years ago when the leasing rate sat at over 30 percent. 

That said, there has been a year and a half where it sat under 20 percent. 

“In the future, starting towards the end of this year and into 2025, we're going to be down over a million units of off-lease vehicles than we were used to,” Melinda said. “I think we've got the potential for that to impact values in the future. The off-lease is still doing well right now, but a reduction is coming.”

Alongside shifting leasing percentages, there is a tightening of the Buy Box across large lenders in response to possible increased risks in the coming months as the economy comes to a potential soft landing.

“I  see the banks tightening up. The loan values for the banks on the used car side have been really, really strong. It's 90% rates versus well over 100. I definitely see trends like that,” Melinda said. 

As the market continues to rebound and delinquency numbers — eventually — go down, some lenders may re-enter the arena, and percentages will likely shift again. 

Credit score increase and rising delinquency rates

On the consumer side, credit scores continue to increase across the board at above-average rates. Despite this, delinquency rates across bank cards, mortgages, and unsecured lending are returning to a more normal, pre-covid level.

“Auto is a little inflated right now. The auto delinquency numbers I'm seeing are relatively high, the percentage of loans themselves are similar to what the peak was in 2009,” Melinda said. “The balances are higher, but in part — we also have twice the amount of balances — 1.4 trillion in automotive loan balances, versus half of that in 2009.”

Age and demographics also play a role in reflected delinquency rates and credit scores, with the younger population having lower scores and older generations — naturally — holding higher ones. 

There has been an increase in overall credit score awareness, proven by a recent survey Melinda’s team sent out.

“We did a survey recently for consumers asking them: ‘Do you know your credit score?’ And universally people were like, ‘Yes, I know my credit score,’ if they didn't know what exactly, they knew the rough range that their credit was in. It is an everyday discussion,” she said.

Consumers today are more hands-on and knowledgeable about their credit scores and will actively ask how they can improve their scores when applying for an auto or home loan because they know it affects their rates. This approach is a sizable change from past times when credit scores were more of a guarded topic.

With the cost of living continuing to go up, consumers are taking control wherever they can to provide themselves and their families with the best chance at maintaining financial security — and the auto industry is no exception.

Stay tuned for new episodes biweekly on the Leaders in Lending Podcast.


Stay tuned for new episodes biweekly on the Leaders in Lending Podcast