Financial institutions usually wait until the account is up to 90 days past due before they repossess the vehicle, he said.

But “fearing they will lose out,” some banks have pulled the plug on accounts just 30 days past due.

Nationwide, the number of vehicle repossessions hit a record of 1.8 million in 2008, up 19 percent from 2007, according to Tom Webb, chief economist for Atlanta-based Manheim, the largest car auction company in the nation.

In the first half of 2009, repossession volumes were increasing at a near double-digit rate, and have continued to inch upward in the second half of the year.

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