Despite tighter scrutiny from regulators, the issuance of bonds backed by subprime auto loans could reach their pre-crisis peak next year.
That’s what analysts at Wells Fargo are forecasting.
They expect volumes of subprime auto securitizations to total $30 billion in 2016, near the 2005 peak.
So far this year issuance in this sector has reached $25.6 billion, beating the $22.0 billion posted in all of 2014, according to Wells analysts.
One trend this year was a move by lenders into “deeper” subprime.
Santander, for instance, revived a platform in March for consumers with particularly spotty track records. The first transaction under the DRIVE label was for $712 million.
There were also new issuers in the subprime auto space as well this year such as Skopos and GLS Auto.
The Wells analysts said that certain issuers have indicated that they’re not slowing down in subprime. Ally, for one, said in Q1 that its subprime business would be more important as a way to “offset losing exclusivity with General Motors.” Its subprime auto loan issuance has totaled $4.3 billion in the year-to-date, from $2.8 billion in all of 2014.
Subprime growth could be thrown though by the “potential downside risk” of increased regulation.
To be sure, regulators have heightened their supervision of the sector in the past year and a half.
The Department of Justice has subpoenaed GM Financial, First Investors, Consumer Portfolio Services, Santander and Ally Financial, asking for documents related to their approach to underwriting subprime auto loans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also increased its scrutiny of the sector.
The potential for more regulation comes on top of the rules coming down the pike, such as risk retention, set to go into effect in Q4 of next year for consumer asset-backeds.