The amount of U.S. auto loans at least 60 days past due fell in the second quarter by the largest amount in nine years, the consumer ratings agency TransUnion said Monday, a week after it said credit card delinquencies slumped.

Many Americans have become savers in the past several years in the wake of the financial crisis. That reduced penchant for buying is among the reasons an economic turnaround has not been as strong has many economists had hoped or believed would be the case.

"The national trend we are seeing continues to point to a clear improvement in payment behavior," TransUnion's Peter Turek in a press release. "Although part of the reason for the turnaround in delinquency rates is the influence of new, lower-risk loans, consumers do not see a quick fix to the short-term economic and employment situation."

In the second quarter, the rate of auto loans at least 60 days behind fell to 0.53%, down 20% from the first quarter and 27% from a year earlier, representing the biggest drop since the summer of 2001. Only three states — Rhode Island, Utah and Montana — had increases from the first quarter. The biggest decline in delinquencies was in Vermont, where the rate dropped to 0.58% from 1%.

Mississippi and Louisiana had the highest rate at 1.05% and 0.97%, respectively, and the lowest was found in North Dakota and Michigan, with 0.28% and 0.29%, respectively.

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