Outstanding automotive loan balances rose 11.5% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, Experian Automotive said Tuesday.

Automotive loan balances totaled $987 billion in the three months, Experian said in detailing findings of its latest State of the Automotive Finance Market report. That is the highest level since Experian began tracking the data publicly in 2006.

Banks continued to hold the largest share of loan balances, roughly $337 billion, a 7.6% increase.

Finance companies and credit unions had the biggest loan balance growth: 22.5% and 15.9%. Loan balances grew 6.3% at finance companies owned by automakers.

"The boost in automotive sales has contributed to a strong quarter for all lender types across the industry," Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive finance for Experian, said in a press release.

Subprime and deep-subprime loans accounted for 20.8% of open automotive loans in the quarter, versus 20.3% in the year-earlier period.

Sixty-day delinquencies rose 5 basis points to 0.77%. Thirty-day delinquencies fell by 5 basis points to 2.57%.

Sixty-day delinquencies rose for all lenders except credit unions, where there was no year-over-year change. Overall, finance companies held roughly 45% of these balances, or $3.04 billion, versus $1.8 billion for banks and $737 million for credit unions.

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