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Looser Credit Standards Boost Car Sales

More people are buying cars, manufacturers reported today. And that may be because loosening lending standards are making it easier for more people to get car loans, experts say.

Borrowers with less-than-perfect credit scores are finding they have more access to car loans than they did a year ago. Subprime lending – for consumers with 550 to 619 scores (based on the so-called PLUS score range of 330 to 830) – accounted for roughly 40% of financing during the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest data from credit reporting company Experian. That’s up from about 37% a year prior and 34% in 2009. Separately, borrowers with scores below 550, categorized as “deep subprime,” also have more access to car financing; lenders’ exposure to those borrowers was up 17% year over year. “Car loan standards are loosening – you don’t have to have that impeccable credit score to get a car loan,” says Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation at Kelley Blue Book.

The shift comes at a time when lenders remain picky about providing other loans, in particular mortgages, to borrowers with the best credit. Experts say credit standards tend to loosen first on smaller-sized loans – like car loans – since defaults on those loans would lead to smaller losses for lenders than six-digit home loans. “It’s a way of evaluating and allowing those people who’ve had issues with their credit to start rebuilding it,” says Keith Leggett, senior economist and vice president at the American Bankers Association.

Banks provided roughly 42% of car financing during the third quarter – up 23% from the year prior – followed by the car manufacturers’ financing arms. Experts say the pickup in lending could be because existing car loans are performing better. The number of car loans that are 30- and 60-days delinquent each fell by about 7% during the third quarter 2011 compared to a year prior, according to Experian. Quarterly repossession rates fell 6%. And the average charge-off amount – the amount of debt a lender believes is unlikely to be collected – is down by 11%.

To be sure, the average credit score for car loan borrowers remains high. The average score of a new car loan borrower was 763 during the third quarter, according to Experian. Still it is down from 769 a year prior and 775 in 2009.

For borrowers, easier access to financing means consumers who were shut out of buying a car during the credit crunch might have a better shot at making that purchase now, says Lacey Plache, chief economist at Data varies, but more than 70% of new car buyers sign up for financing. “Consumers with poorer credit scores are getting back into the market,” says Plache.

And once they get approved for a loan, car buyers could find generous loan sizes and terms. Financing amounts for new cars on average was $25,873 during the third quarter 2011, up $600 from a year prior, according to Experian. And while the average term remains 63 months, longer-term financing is on the rise. Loans for new cars ranging between 73 and 84 months are up 51% from a year prior. These loans usually require consumers to pay more interest over time and could mean paying more for a car than it’s worth as it ages.

Many borrowers can also get cheaper financing. The average interest rate on a 60-month new car loan is 5.2%, down from 6.2% a year ago, according to At the dealerships, promotional interest rates are often lower and can be as little as 0% to 2%, says Gutierrez; while those rates are mostly reserved for borrowers with high credit scores, consumers with scores slightly below 700 might qualify now, he says.

Still, more credit does come at cost. In general, borrowers with low credit scores who are approved for a car loan will probably have to pay extra. On average, subprime borrowers paid an interest rate of 9.67% and deep subprime borrowers paid 12.54% during the third quarter 2011, according to Experian, though those rates have been dropping as well.


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    • Its a nice way to boost up your credit standards. Thanks for sharing the great article.
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    • By WebOsPublisher

      Help Wanted!
      Help Wanted!
      The Unicon project is looking for help on the following topics as of 9/3/2012.
      Thanks to Hugh Sasse for improving the HTML and adding a table of contents!
      Most of these topics are requests from the user community. Many of these would
      make excellent independent study or thesis topics. Net volunteers are also
      welcome. Anyone willing to pay for any of these projects should drop me a
      note, and I will hire appropriate students to do it at their bargain wage
      An asterisk (*) in the title indicates that Somebody is believed
      to be working on that topic, or has implemented a feature not yet
      adopted in the Unicon baseline.
      The Unicon Translator .
      Iconc, the optimizing compiler .
      The (Un)icon VM and runtime system .
      Debugging Tools .
      Fonts .
      Additional OOP Features .
      Patterns .
      Script support .
      Programming Environment .
      Easier C-calling interface .
      Embeddability; easier calling from C .
      Two-way Pipes .
      Printing Support; Report Generation .
      Messaging extensions .
      Windows-native features .
      Google Protocol Buffers .
      Unicon for Small Systems.
      Improving reads() .
      Compressed Archives.
      Storing Structures to Disk .
      Graphics .
      Parallel Computation Support .
      Persistent Structure Types .
      Enhance error diagnostics .
      IDE – IVIB integration .
      Benchmarks .
      The Unicon translator.
      The Unicon translator is written in Unicon and has evolved since around 2000.
      Purpose: core language. Skills needed: Unicon expert, compilers.
      The Unicon translator is an appropriate place to implement a
      number of classic, easy optimizations such as constant folding
      and common subexpression elimination.
      Amazingly, icont does not do these. I would also like to see
      strength reduction, not only for classic arithmetic operations
      but for string processing; for example,
      changing upto(‘s’) to find(“s”).
      Also, there are obvious conversions to avoid at compile time, such as
      changing write(1) to write(“1″) and the like.
      Iconc, the optimizing compiler.
      In 2006-2007 Unicon re-incorporated Icon’s optimizing compiler,
      which is built separately and accessed using “unicon -C” on Unix-based
      systems with an available C compiler.
      Purpose: faster execution. Skill needed: C expert.
      Dead Code Elimination —
      Iconc needs to remove unreferenced procedures and classes prior to type
      inferencing in order to speed up compilation and reduce memory requirements.
      Compiler Optimization –
      Iconc can use further optimization, both of its own
      operation and
      particularly of its generated code. An earlier successful project
      by Anthony Jones showed me than even an enterprising undergraduate
      student can make a real difference (in his case, a 2/3 reduction in
      iconc’s memory requirements).
      Windows Compiler — Iconc needs to be ported
      to Windows, preferably using a free Windows C compiler such as gcc or lcc.
      The win32/gcc configuration provides a starting point.
      The (Un)icon Virtual Machine and runtime system.
      The Unicon virtual machine is the Icon virtual machine, with extensions.
      It was written in C in the early 1980′s. The VM runtime system was
      altered in the early 1990′s to use an extended-C syntax called RTL
      (runtime language). This allowed it to be used for both Iconx and Iconc.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      VM optimization– The virtual
      machine translator (icont), and the interpreter and runtime system
      (iconx) can be further enhanced for better performance. For example,
      the memory allocations performed during most string subscripts can be
      avoided with a relatively simple addition of a new virtual machine
      instruction. As another example, in many or most calling contexts,
      the translator can identify when a generator cannot be resumed. If this
      information were passed into the invocation, a suspend might be promoted
      into a (much faster) return expression.
      VM translator type inferencing –
      The type inferencing mechanism used by iconc has been sped up to the
      point where type inferencing could be used to direct VM optimizations,
      not just C-compiles.
      Compact structure representations* –
      Common special-cases of data structures should have special-purpose
      representations to save space and time. One example was a user request
      for “tiny tables” — if a program needs millions of small tables, the
      memory overhead of such tables becomes important. If HSegs is 20, one
      would seemingly be able to store tables of size
      Reals in Descriptors –
      On 64-bit machines, the 8-byte descriptor vword is big enough to hold
      a C double directly, eliminating the need for reals to be allocated
      out of the block region. *Status: done in 2012.
      Dynamic Interpreter Stack –
      Short of infinite recursion,
      it should be almost impossible to cause an interpreter stack overflow.
      Perhaps Icon’s own list data type could be used to implement a
      dynamic interpreter stack. Alternatively, checking and
      the interpreter stack might work.
      VM dynamic code– The dynamic loading facility built-in to
      Unicon needs to be supplemented and extended with dynamic linking to
      allow new code to be generated and executed on the fly.
      Portable bytecode– It would be nice if Unicon executables
      could be delivered in a machine neutral format, similar to the Java VM.
      cset keyword conversions — are keywords such as
      converted to strings often enough to warrant special-cases in the cset
      conversion code?
      Avoid one-char allocations– Many functions such as map()
      would not need to allocate a string from the heap, if that string were
      of length 1, they could just return a pointer to that character in
      static memory.
      Improve large integer string conversion –
      A large integer such as 5^4^3^2 takes a long time to convert to a string,
      like 4+ minutes on an older amd64! This could be made much faster,
      possibly by reimplementing large integers using GMP or altering their
      representation to be base-10-compatible on a per-largeint-chunk basis.
      Debugging Tools.
      We have gone to considerable effort (like, my Ph.D. dissertation) to enable
      the authoring of advanced tools for Unicon in Unicon. Things are in a bit of
      flux right now and our debugging facilities need to be extended to be able
      to handle new features such as threads.
      Skills needed: Unicon expert.
      Unicon Debugger Enhancements –
      The monitoring facilities described in the book
      “Program Monitoring
      and Visualization”. have been used to produce an extensible source level
      debugger, udb.
      This debugger is relatively new and can use further refinement.
      Unicon Profiler –
      A good profiler would tell time and space information about Unicon program
      executions, including runtime system time and and space, not just source
      code modules’ time and space. Line-level, and built-in level details are
      needed. *Status: a simple profiler prototype named uprof was developed by
      a student as a semester project. It is useful enough that it has made it
      into the language distribution, but needs further refinement. &time on some
      platforms can benefit from improved resolution using high resolution timers.
      On typical Linux machines the current 10ms resolution limits uprof’s precision.
      Unicon Lint –
      A “lint”
      for Unicon would detect bugs and probable bugs
      by static analysis. For example, redundant/repeated type conversions.
      Fonts are an important aspect of widening Unicon’s suitability to more
      applications. They are at present the single biggest obstacle to portability
      across platforms.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      Unicon Freetype* –
      Unicon should add support for the
      font engine and provide a set of
      portable fonts that match, pixel-for-pixel, on all window systems.
      *Status: Preliminary freetype support was added to 3D facilities but
      is not generally enabled. It should be extended to work with 2D graphics,
      and needs further development.
      Unicon Unicode –
      Unicon should add support for Unicode and/or other >8 bit character sets.
      Unicon Native Fonts –
      It would be nice if Unicon could add new fonts dynamically, in order
      to support interesting languages that are not well supported by
      operating systems.
      Unicon Deadkeys –
      The iconx X11 client code should be updated to use X11R5+ support for
      locales and “dead keys” to compose accent characters using XmbLookupString
      and/or the LC_CTYPE stuff.
      Additional OOP Features.
      Skills needed: Unicon expert and/or C expert.
      Class Variables
      Some additional syntax is needed to make it more convenient to declare
      variables who are shared among all instances of a class. Currently you
      can achieve this effect using globals and packages, and method static
      variables are shared among instances, but a more direct syntax would
      be handy.
      Private and Read-Only-Publics
      Unicon’s predecessor Idol had private semantics and a public keyword.
      Private semantics were dropped because they added to complexity and
      space consumption without adding functionality. But arguably they
      have value and should be an option. While a distinction between
      private and protected does not seem very useful in Unicon, a scope
      that would be really useful would be a read-only public designation,
      to avoid the need for many accessor methods.
      The existing work on a pattern data type needs to be integrated better
      with string scanning.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      Script support.
      Iconx needs to be extended to support directly executing .icn source files.
      Also, support for “one-liners” where the source code is supplied as a
      command line option. Icon 9.5 added some support for this on UNIX;
      for Unicon we need a multiplatform solution if possible.
      Programming Environment.
      Better programming tools are always in demand. An interactive interpreter,
      or an incremental compilation system, would make an excellent project.
      There are several ways to execute new unicon on the fly that was typed in
      using system()
      slow, doesn’t pass non-string parameters easily
      using load()
      but load() does not “link” into the current program, and currently
      does not support calling procedures in another program directly, one would
      have to use a co-expression to change control to the other “program” and then
      call a desired procedure via some wrapper code. Also,
      load()’ing a lot may
      have garbage collection issues that haven’t been discovered yet.
      Undergrad-level project: develop a “library” model for Unicon modules,
      calling them through a co-expression interface using wrapper procedures
      develop a new mechanism for linking and loading COMPILED Unicon code
      as a .so/.dll per loadfunc()
      developing a pure interpreter
      for strings or syntax trees constructed from a parse of the code.
      As an experiment, I wrote a little program that reads lines from the user,
      and for each one, calls an eval(s) function that writes it to a file,
      compiles it, uses load(), and activates it. This is “slow”, but runs in
      well under a second, it is not obvious that we have to discard unicon/icont
      and go with some pure interpreter in order to provide this type of service
      on modern machines. Handling stored procedures and globals in such an
      interpretive environment requires more thought, but still seems doable, and
      would be useful to experimenters and new users.
      Easier C-calling interface.
      Udaykumar Batchu recently performed a project to simplify the calling of
      C functions from within the runtime system, improving on the traditional
      Icon loadfunc() dynamic loading utility. His work needs some refinement,
      and student Vincent Ho suggested an “inline C” capability that would fit
      in nicely. It would
      be interesting to add such a capability to the compiler and
      to the interpreter.
      Skills needed: Unicon expert. C expert.
      Embeddability; easier calling from C.
      It has been requested that we make the interpreter embeddable within
      C/C++ applications. Developing a standard mechanism for turning the
      Unicon VM into a callable C library would make an interesting project.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      Two-way Pipes.
      Qutaiba Mahmoud’s M.S. project has given us a multi-platform pseudo-tty
      interface which sort of implements this request. Mainly it needs further
      polishing (testing and debugging) for production use. Skills needed: C expert.
      Printing Support; Report Generation.
      The graphics facilities would benefit from multiplatform printing support,
      including the generation of postscript or pdf. The database facilities
      would benefit from a report generator similar to crystal reports.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      Messaging extensions.
      The messaging facilities done by Steve Lumos support popular protocols such
      as HTTP and POP. One thing we need to do is port these from UNIX to Win32.
      Another thing we need to do is add protocols. We would especially like to
      see SSL support added, using OpenSSL or some other free implementation of
      SSL. A critical extension for e-mail support is SMTP AUTH, the authenticated
      version of the SMTP protocol. We also need FTP, IMAP, NNTP, …
      Windows-native features.
      Single-platform enhancements are uninteresting to users on other platforms,
      but occasionally they are necessary or useful in making Unicon suitable for
      applications that it otherwise would not be used in.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      One of the oft-requested Windows-specific features is COM support.
      The technical questions are: (a) is a platform
      independent interface possible (to support CORBA or javabeans as well,
      for example, and (b) how high-level can we make this API?
      Porting iconx to be an Active Script Engine (at one time documented in the
      “Visual Programmer” column from Microsoft Systems Journal online) would
      allow Icon to be an embedded scripting language for many Windows
      Google Protocol Buffers.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      Additional means of automating the transmission of structured or
      binary data would be valuable to Unicon — Google’s Protocol Buffers
      are an example.
      Unicon for Small Systems.
      Skills needed: C expert.
      New platforms of particular interest are PDAs.
      David Price performed a preliminary WinCE port including much of
      the 2D graphics facilities. It needs extensions in several areas,
      such as networking, and a strategy for adapting existing GUI windows
      to the small screen (scaling them, or adding automatic scrolling).
      Improving reads().
      reads(f,n) is often used to read large data in a contiguous chunk.
      If the amount is not known, it is tempting to use a very large n to
      get all available data, but asking for a number such as
      1000000000 bytes attempts to physically allocate that many bytes, even
      if the actual data is much smaller. A smarter strategy should be
      Status: implemented for local files in 2012.
      Compressed Archives.
      It would be neat if Unicon handled common archive and compressed archive
      formats such as .zip as easily as it does other file types.
      Skills needed: C intermediate.
      Storing Structures to Disk.
      It would be useful to add I/O modes in which arbitrary structure
      values (tables, objects, etc) could be written to and read from disk,
      making something like encode()/decode() a built-in.
      Skills needed: C intermediate.
      Skills needed: C expert. Graphics API expert.
      Direct3D port. Such a port would unable Unicon to run on
      Windows-based platforms that do not support OpenGL well (Vista? Xbox?).
      When a window (possibly 2d, offscreen) is used as a Texture on a
      3D object, it should be updated with current contents every time
      the 3D object is redrawn. :-)
      Unicon should support PNG as a standard graphics format.
      *This has been implemented but seems to behave incorrectly on some images.
      Subwindows (at least) should support a borderwidth attribute,
      and have the option of having no border. Perhaps main windows too.
      Mac – We need a Macintosh programmer,
      proficient in (or willing to learn) native Mac graphics API’s,
      to complete the Mac port
      of the graphics facilities. A QuickDraw version
      reached alpha-stage at Icon 9.3.1
      but was not finished. At this point we probably should axe that
      codebase and instead pursue a Quartz port for Mac OS X. Prototyping for
      this effort showed that a Cocoa GUI thread creating and calling a VM
      thread was the right way to organize this execution model.
      Other platforms? – We want our portable graphics on all
      platforms for which our community wants to program. For example, we
      had an earlier port to OS/2 Presentation Manager, back when that was
      in wide use.
      Parallel Computation.
      The rise of dual-core CPU’s makes it inevitable that Unicon should be
      extended to support parallel computation. The interesting questions are
      whether it should support implicit or explicit parallelism or both.
      Skills needed: C expert
      Threads* —
      Icon and Unicon support a co-expression data type that is a synchronous
      *Status: an #ifdef symbol Concurrent enables support for threads. UTR 14
      and the 2nd edition Unicon book document it. Further debugging
      and testing are needed to bring this facility to production quality.
      DataParallel Operators* —
      Unicon should support (deep) structure-at-a-time operators, such as
      L1+L2 producing a list L3 with elements of L1 pairwise-summed with L2.
      *Status: experimental modifications to support element-wise addition
      is in the runtime system under the #ifdef symbol DataParallel.
      Persistent Structure Types.
      It would be neat if Unicon supported persistent structures, structures
      that survive across program executions. An approximation of this can
      be accomplished by storing xencoded structures in GDBM files, but it
      would be nice if it were easier and more direct.
      Skills needed: C expert
      Enhance error diagnostics.
      The error messages, particularly from the runtime system, can be enhanced to
      improve readability and help the programmer have a clue of how to fix the
      problem encountered. Long error tracebacks should be written to a file and
      a terser summary printed to standard error output. The default diagnostics
      style should be friendlier to new Unicon programmers. It might be possible
      to load/attach udb when a runtime error occurs.
      Skills needed: C intermediate.
      Icont’s parser needs to be modified to work with any YACC
      implementation. At present it fails on some 64-bit Linuxes
      if -O2 is turned on, apparently due an issue in the old AT$T YACC
      parser skeleton.
      IDE – IVIB integration.
      The unicon IDE and IVIB need to to be joined together.
      Skills needed: Unicon intermediate.
      Icon’s benchmark suite from long ago is inadequate to compare performances
      usefully on modern systems. We need a new benchmark suite that (a) exercises
      the various features of the language, and (b) ideally would fit in with
      a portable benchmark suite used to compare performance across other
      very high level languages.
      Skills needed: Unicon intermediate.

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