3 steps to help BHPH dealers find true wisdom

Is there a “wisdom” app for my phone? What’s the relative value of intelligence and wisdom?

If there is anything that experience teaches, it is that wisdom has a far greater value than intelligence. Even Solomon prayed for wisdom knowing that intelligence alone would not achieve his goals. Every buy-here, pay-here dealer is confronted with the same reality.

Intelligence is knowing how to read. Wisdom is understanding what the words really mean.

Your brain is capable of learning how to think wisely. You may have heard the expression that if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem or opportunity requires a nail. Think about that a moment. If you only have one tool, the hammer, then your only solution to anything is a nail. The more tools we have the better solutions we find. (By the way the only difference between a problem and an opportunity is how you react.)

Here’s a simple brain tool that reaches the wisdom lever. I call it, “The Question Tool.” It’s very simple. It only takes a minute to learn. Once you have made it best friends with your “Habit Tool” it works all the time.

Step No 1: Ask your customers, friends, family, partner, banker, vendor; everyone in your life, “What’s really important?”

Step No. 2. Ask “Why?”

Step No. 3. Be silent verbally and mentally as you listen to the two most important questions you can ask. (You are not listening if you know what you are going to say in reply and are waiting for your turn to speak)

The result will be understanding, which is the cornerstone of wisdom.

When I make local speeches, I pass out simple business cards that have “The Question Tool” explained on them. Make some yourself. Pass them out to people you know.

Julian Codding is a member of the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers Hall of Fame, possessing more than 40 years of industry experience. More about him can found at .

NIADA and Subprime Analytics confirm data agreement to aid dealers

When the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) finalized its acquisition of the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers (NABD) this past December, the last thing Ken Shilson wanted to do was just power down his computer and never look spreadsheets or other financial documents and portfolio metrics.

But now Shilson, one of NABD’s founders, will continue to leverage his analytical and accounting backgrounds as NIADA announced on Thursday that it has contracted with Shilson and Subprime Analytics to provide analytical services for the association’s 16,000 members.

“I wanted to get back more into the analytics area,” Shilson said during a phone conversation in January. “I want to expand my analytical data to support the important positions of the industry

“It is data that will drive the decisions that regulators have to make that will impact the industry,” he added.

Subprime Analytics, a Houston-based company that analyzes subprime automotive portfolio performance using data-mining technology, has analyzed more than $20 billion in subprime auto installment contracts during the past 10 years. The firm provides nationally recognized automotive benchmarks that measure industry performance and trends.

“I am pleased to prepare and issue our used-car benchmarks and other analytical reports to assist NIADA in its representation of the used car industry,” said Shilson, who is president and founder of Subprime Analytics.

“At Subprime Analytics, we intend to develop data and analytical information in support of important legal and regulatory initiatives by NIADA that will impact the used-car industry. NIADA and Subprime Analytics, working together, plan to expand analytical reporting for its members.”

For the past 19 years, Shilson had served as president and founder of NABD, . Shilson will continue to assist both organizations and will participate in NIADA training and conferences planned for 2018 and beyond.

“We are now working together on the agenda for the 2018 NIADA/NABD Convention and Expo at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., June 18-21,” Shilson said in a news release. “It promises to be the largest used-car show in history, and I am delighted to join the NIADA team in helping design and conduct the educational sessions and to continue to provide NABD attendees the highly valuable specialized training they have come to expect.

“NIADA is also planning a subprime auto conference this fall in Las Vegas and other dealer training events. In the highly competitive subprime auto industry of today, education has never been more important and valuable,” he continued.

NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan said that that he is “thrilled Subprime Analytics is now the de facto data arm of NIADA" and that Ken Shilson is adding his 20- years of data mining and analytics expertise to the NIADA playbook of service to our members.

“Through Subprime Analytics, Ken has created an extremely valuable service platform for dealers and finance companies in the subprime automotive space that can help them better understand how data trends can impact their businesses and customers,” Jordan continued. “Aggregating data is one thing, but Ken’s expertise in interpreting the data and its operational trends is what puts him in a class by himself.

“As a real-life data ninja, Ken is a hugely valuable asset to NIADA, our members and the industry, and I look forward to our continued work together,” Jordan went on to say.

For more information about the 2018 NIADA Convention and Expo or to register, visit or or call (832) 767-4759. Availability is limited.

NIADA notes: Dealer optimism high; new relationship with Lyft

Independent dealers went into 2018 with an upbeat mood.

Why? The economic and retail sales growth expectations of independent dealers have improved substantially, according to the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s business confidence survey for the fourth quarter of 2017.

The survey of NIADA members is conducted each quarter in partnership with Equifax to gauge the viewpoint of used-vehicle dealers regarding general economic conditions and business concerns.

The association highlighted that 50 percent of the dealers surveyed said they expected economic conditions to improve in Q1 2018, up from 36 percent in the Q3 survey.

The results showed retail sales growth expectations improved from 55 to 67 percent, and the number of dealers who expected to increase their inventory investment this quarter rose 17 percentage points — a 42.5 percent increase from Q3.

NIADA pointed out that its dealer sentiment results align with a recent survey of members of the National Federation of Independent Business that showed optimism near an all-time high, at a level not seen in 34 years, according to NFIB president and chief executive officer Juanita Duggan.

NIADA determined the big drivers of that renewed positivity include expectations of tax relief from the new tax bill passed by Congress, positive consumer sentiment due to the lowest unemployment rate in more than 30 years and confidence in the current administration’s pro-growth, anti-regulation policies.

The association acknowledged used-vehicle inventory costs remain robust, with the latest Manheim Index climbing 7.8 percent year-over-year.

NIADA noted that inflationary inventory situation continues to put pressure on the business expense side of the ledger, which is one reason 57 percent of dealers expected their cost of doing business to increase, up from 45 percent in Q3.

Survey orchestrators explained that jump also reflects the significant investment independent auto dealers continue to make in their digital showroom — as reflected in the survey, which shows 56 percent planned to increase their digital marketing spend.

And like any entrepreneur might say, NIADA’s latest project to gauge dealer mindsets emphasized how the cost of doing business weighs heavily on operators.

The expectation of rising expenses also showed up in dealers’ perception of the single most important problem facing their business — 25 percent said it was the increased cost of doing business — by far the most popular choice.

The cost of doing business was followed by heightened competition from franchised dealers (17 percent), lack of customer prospect traffic/leads and lack of quality retail inventory (12 percent).

NIADA mentioned government regulations/red tape — usually one of the most popular responses — was near the bottom of the list at 6 percent.

The overall picture shows NIADA members expected business to improve heading deeper into 2018.

That optimism is bolstered by strong 3.9 percent holiday retail sales growth — well above the 10-year average of 2.6 percent — as well as rising wages, stock market strength, increasing employment and a generally positive economic outlook.

The complete survey data from NIADA and Equifax .

Lyft and NIADA partner to help dealers turn metal

In other association news, ride-sharing provider Lyft has joined with NIADA  as its latest National Member Benefit partner.

The partnership, what NIADA contends is unprecedented in the ride-sharing industry, provides dealer members with opportunities to improve their bottom line through referral incentives and improved transportation solutions for customers while also supporting Lyft’s efforts to expand its driver community and providing economic opportunities for dealership customers.

NIADA member dealerships can sign up to be a Lyft referral partner and receive bonuses for each driver they refer. Customers who sign up for the program will also receive a bonus shortly after they begin driving for Lyft, which they can put toward their down payment and monthly costs of purchasing a vehicle.

The partnership enables dealerships to increase sales through the Lyft referral program.

In addition, Lyft’s Concierge program can offer NIADA members an easy, reliable and inexpensive way to provide transportation for customers whose vehicles are laid up in service.

Concierge can enable the dealership to request rides for its customers to get where they need to go while their car is being serviced, whether it’s running errands, going to work or heading home to take care of their children.

Increased mobility provides a better experience for the customer in a cost-efficient way, according to both Lyft and NIADA.

“We are excited to work with NIADA in a unique partnership that’s helping 20,000 independently owned dealerships increase profits and elevate their customer service while expanding our driver community and growing our Concierge portfolio,” said Gyre Renwick, vice president of Lyft Business.

“By leveraging our holistic business solutions strategy, NIADA is able to provide independent dealers across the country with referral opportunities for every driver sign-up, with the potential to lead to an increase in sales,” Renwick continued.

“Simultaneously, we’re also helping improve the overall customer experience by giving dealerships the ability to dispatch Lyft rides for customers whose vehicles are being serviced, through our Concierge platform,” Renwick went on to say.

NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja insisted teaming with Lyft provides an “unparalleled opportunity” for NIADA members to profit from the growing opportunities created by the emerging ride-sharing industry.

“Forging new, innovative partnerships that foster synergies between emerging and traditional mobility solutions while helping our membership sell more vehicles and satisfy more customers fits perfectly with our National Member Benefit partnership mission,” Lilja said.

Registration open for NIADA/NABD Conference

Now that the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers has been acquired by NIADA, independent operators need to make only national conference trip this summer.

The NIADA/NABD Convention and Expo, set for June 18-21 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., is a product of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s acquisition of the assets and operations of the National Alliance of Buy Here-Pay Here Dealers, a deal that merged NABD’s conference and educational services into those of NIADA.

“We believe the combined Mega-Conference will be the largest in the used car industry and will provide unmatched resources for all dealers and allied industry partners,” NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan said. “Our goal is to provide a true one-stop shop for dealer education and specialized training for any automotive dealer business model, including the BHPH-specific topics and information you’ve come to expect from NABD over the past 19 years.”

In addition to NABD’s BHPH education, attendees can look forward to sessions offering training from the industry’s best and brightest in retail operations, compliance, certified pre-owned, business operations and much, much more.

It will also include the largest Expo Hall in NIADA Convention history, packed with more than 200 exhibitors offering the latest cutting-edge technology, products and services designed to help dealers stay on top of the ultra-competitive used car market.

NIADA acquired NABD on Dec. 14, completing more than two years of review, strategic discussions and due diligence and providing a succession plan for NABD, founded in 1998 by Ken Shilson.

“Success in this industry is about working together,” said Shilson, NABD’s president. “It’s about using our collective resources to help our members succeed. And that’s exactly what we’ve done here. We’re working together for the success of the used car industry, which is what this merger is about.”

NABD’s Ingram Walters agreed the deal embodies what NABD has always been about.

“Our goal at NABD has always been the dealers’ success,” Walter said. “This combination will provide even more basis for that and an ongoing plan for their success.”

The NABD staff will transition into NIADA and continue in expanded roles to serve the needs of NABD members, NIADA members and the BHPH industry.

“NABD has provided a strong voice and specialized educational resources to more than 14,000 members over the past 19 years,” Jordan said. “I am pleased that the NABD legacy will live on within NIADA as we continue to develop new ways to serve the entire used motor vehicle industry.”

A fall conference in Las Vegas is also under development, with plans to be announced in the coming months.

To register for the upcoming NIADA/NABD Convention and Expo or for more information, visit or .

First-time attendees rave about NABD’s fall event

Ken Shilson, president of the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers, reported that more than 50 percent of the surveyed attendees who came to the recent Fall BHPH Conference had never been to an NABD event previously.

Evidently, those operators left Orlando, Fla., as quite satisfied customers.

“Attendee evaluations unanimously indicated that the program will help them succeed in 2018 and beyond,” Shilson said. “Our speakers and sponsors did an outstanding job and made the event one of the most popular conferences in our 20-year history.”

At least one of those attendees appears to be ready to come to future NABD conferences, as well.

“It was great. I found out I’ve been operating in the dark for a few years now. I will never miss it anymore,” said Ivan Tello of Irotema Holdings in Land O’Lakes, Fla.

Vincent Lewis of Crown Auto Sales & Finance of Charlotte, N.C., added, “The NABD Conference organizers truly understand the needs of the dealers. The BHPH business is a very diverse business.”

The three-day event with the theme, “Opportunity Knocks – Best Ways to Respond,” began with a session orchestrated by Shilson and NABD’s Ingram Walters that also featured BHPH Hall of Fame inductions of Rick Potter and Stan Schwarz, who made life-long contributions to the BHPH industry and were inducted posthumously.

The conference included 14 different concurrent workshop Sessions covering inventory acquisition and financing, national reconditioning survey results, ways to increase sales, F&I products for success, GPS collection tools, DMS software solutions, capital acquisition, integrated technology solutions, regulatory protection by state dealer associations, an accounting/tax update, maximizing recoveries, best underwriting practices and collection “hot spots” to avoid.

All these workshops were interactive so attendees could ask questions and get answers on these important topics.

“Great training. I came last year, and it is one of the best, more educational conferences I have attended,” said Kim Frederick of Motory Group in Gainesville, Fla.

“Don’t be good, be better. The NABD will help you and your business be better," said Irma Gamboa of Fresh Start Finance in El Paso, Texas.

Thomas Rainey, of McNair McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., in Macon, Ga., added, “Very educational and informative. Learned a lot and realized there is a lot I need to learn.”

The event also featured a “first timer” reception with more than 150 attendees.

Another highlight was the charity auction of a customized golf cart donated by Manheim. The proceeds from the auction went to the hurricane relief fund established by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and the Texas Independent Automobile Dealers Association for the benefit of victims of these recent natural disasters.

NABD announced that a portion of the conference proceeds will be donated to the relief fund, too.

“The NABD Orlando conference continues to bring important information and training to the buy-here pay-here dealer attendees. As the industry continues to mature, the relationship between vendors and dealers becomes more critical. Thanks to NABD and NIADA for making conferences like this possible,” said Bill Murphy of Collateral Protection Insurance and Associates of Huntsville, Texas.

Conference presentations, photos and more are now available on NABD’s website at .

NABD offers 3 conference sessions to enhance operators’ customer base

Of the 21 different training sessions the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers (NABD) is organizing for its next conference, there are a trio of segments that might be most beneficial to operators looking to build a larger and stronger portfolio of paying customers.

Along with conference keynote speaker Steve Siebold, it’s all on tap for NABD’s Orlando BHPH Conference titled “Opportunity Knocks – Best Ways to Respond.” Dealers can still secure registration discounts through Friday for the conference that begins on Oct. 23 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Fla.

While Siebold offered a glimpse of his presentation in a as well as at the top of this page, NABD highlighted all of its sessions, including the three that might give operators the strategy they need to grow their customer base.

LHPH – Another Alternative
Oct. 24 at 10 a.m.

Leasing is an important alternative business model in the competitive environment of today. What are the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a lease-here, pay-here business? What regulations apply to LHPH? Where can you find capital to finance a lease portfolio? How do you make these leases compliant? In this workshop, a panel of successful lease operators and experts explain how to do it correctly. NABD insisted longer terms and lower down payments are not the recipe for success. Learn how leasing can help to avoid these pitfalls.

Ways to Increase Your Sales
Oct. 24 at 4:15 p.m.

Competition for the best customers has made the BHPH industry more challenging than ever during the last two years. Franchised dealers, credit unions, special finance companies are all competing for the customers who normally land within the BHPH segment. In this workshop, Bill Neylan of Tax Max will explain how the tax refund market has changed and provide creative ways to gain or regain that business. Irregular payments can keep customers paying.

Best Underwriting Practices
Oct. 25 at 9:15 a.m.

Every BHPH operator wants to regain lost market share. Good underwriting is needed to avoid mistakes made in the past. Lower down payments, lower repayments, and longer terms are not the recipe for success. During this interactive panel you will learn how credit scoring, and credit bureau and alternative credit data will help you make better decisions. Chuck Bonanno, 20 group director for the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, will explain what 20 group members are doing to get the best customers and keep vehicles sold.

For further information or to register, visit or call (832) 767-4759. Early registration discounts are available through Friday. NABD also has arranged $179 per night room rates at Rosen Centre with no resort fees while supplies last.

10 elements that will factor in your BHPH rebound

The past 24-month period has seen the highest level of subprime and deep subprime competition in history. Fueled by “cheap money” raised with Wall Street syndicated auto bond securitizations, the subprime auto finance market has grown to an estimated $200 billion.

Auto finance receivables, for both new and used vehicles, as of March 31 reached a record $1 trillion with $82 billion outstanding — the highest in history. The deep subprime market (credit scores below 550) has seen credit unions, franchised dealers, finance companies and others compete with independent operators for low credit score customers.

As a result, the independents have lost approximately 20 percent of their market share to credit unions and the captives that finance franchised operators.

Despite this highly competitive environment, “opportunity knocks” for the independents today.

Many of the deep subprime auto bonds are experiencing higher defaults, and repayment performance is deteriorating. Finance companies and captives have tightened underwriting and credit criteria in 2017 in an effort to reduce losses. Banks are under increased regulatory scrutiny to tighten credit standards and shift lending to higher credit quality customers. These changes will reduce competition in the subprime and deep subprime credit sectors in the future.

As subprime customers default they will return to the independents and their vehicle repossessions will be available at auctions.

The ability to capitalize on opportunity in the subprime finance market will be dependent upon the following:

1. Capital availability to grow and regain lost market share with the financial flexibility to accomplish it.

2. Efficient systems and processes that enable operators to increase originations without corresponding increases in overhead.

3. A proactive approach in connecting with customers previously lost to competitors who will now be needing transportation.

4. Good underwriting practices, which properly match the customer with a vehicle, they can afford over a reasonable payment term.

5. Good collection procedures, which keep each customer paying over the life of the contracts.

6. A compliance management system, which helps operators avoid regulatory and legal mistakes which can cost them millions.

7. Recovery operations which reduce losses when customer defaults occur.

8. Business models that maximize the cash return on their portfolio investment.

9. The right inventory to get the best customers back.

10. Knowledge of the latest rules and regulations and relevant training for their employees to operate successfully.

It sounds simple, but doing the above will not be easy. It starts with each operator’s commitment to address the items above in their own operations. Hoping the competition will go away is not a prudent strategy. Operators must be proactive to make 2018 a better year.

NABD’s upcoming BHPH Conference on Oct. 23 through 25 in Orlando’s Rosen Centre will focus on the opportunity in the subprime auto finance market, and suggest the best ways to respond to the current challenges. A sold out Solutions Hall will showcase capital providers and the newest products and services to help operators be more efficient and to maximize profits and cash flow. Industry technology has never been better but each operator must properly integrate it.

For further information, or to register, visit or call (832) 767-4759. Early registration discounts are available prior to Sept. 23. NABD has arranged $179 per night room rates at Rosen Centre with no resort fees while supplies last. Don’t miss this opportunity to prosper in subprime auto finance today. Good luck!

Ken Shilson is president of Subprime Analytics () and the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers (). Subprime Analytics uses data mining to perform computerized portfolio analysis for operators and capital providers. NABD is the nation’s largest BHPH special interest group for operators and product providers with more than 13,000 members.

Actions to define the right risks and rewards

Our series continues now that we’ve identified as well as how can we better identify risk as a buy-here, pay-here dealership.

An important aspect of lending is not only which accounts to watch but how to monitor them and develop a well-defined proactive workflow strategy.

Many investors use a risk/reward ratio to compare expected returns of an investment to the amount of risk undertaken to capture these returns.

Fundamentally, the concept is the same in consumer finance. How much risk is acceptable in order to realize a certain level of reward? Securitization lending is predicated on assessing risk. In theory securitizations permit lenders to accept more known business risk. There is a premium associated with higher risk factors. Facilitating this shift are more robust risk assessment models which provide analytical overview for those willing to accept elevated risk within a portfolio.

Examples are plentiful with respect to insurance industry and its approach to connecting aspects of risk to individual insurance policies.

As recently reported in The Economist: “Michal Kosinski of Stanford University and colleagues at Cambridge University recently found that computers which are fed a person’s Facebook ‘likes’ are better than a human analyst at predicting whether they smoke or take drugs. Such prying is just the beginning: Insurers speak with straight faces about a time when sensors in customers’ homes will alert plumbers to weak pipes before they burst, and glucose meters in lenses will keep a record of how healthily they are eating.”

Data mining and monitoring not only allow insurers to price policies more accurately, but also enable them to modify customers’ behavior. “I think of us as Big Mother,” says Brian Vannoni of Guidewire, a firm that analyses data for insurers.

Within the lending community measuring risk reward has similar yet different characteristics. Essentially, lenders from all segments of business want to understand what the elements of risk are associated with a particular decision to extend credit. Basic ground rules still apply within that process.

Extending credit means evaluating the 5 C’ which still apply:

The five C's of credit is a system used by lenders to gauge the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. The system weighs five characteristics of the borrower and conditions of the loan, attempting to estimate the chance of default. The five C's of credit are character, capacity, capital, collateral and conditions. The difference today is that a review of a potential borrower with respect to the five C’s is analytically compiled and is light years more predictable than what it was before  using alternative data. 

Risk reward analysis in consumer credit portfolios attempt to quantify elements of risk associated with the most likely outcome of a consumer behavior. The coordinated outcome of using analytical scoring models to approve or decline credit is first step. Having insight to the likelihood an account will default permits a lender to prepare for such an outcome.

The obvious next question is once approved which account represents the greatest risk of loss. If identified sooner can the behavior be modified to alter the projected course of events i.e. charge-off. But what if we could identify not only the individual element of risk but the degree of associated risk?

Specifically, as we discussed previously, identification of risk through the approval process permits an analytical segmentation of accounts which are stratified to the degree of severity. Thirty day delinquency cured with normal treatment strategies is much less troublesome than 90-day delinquency that is non- responsive.

If we could profile behavior before it occurs just as Mr. Kosinski at Stanford accomplished by predicting a certain behavior before it happens then we could use data segmentation to predict a financial loss to the institution?

Essentially, in a generic sense a correlation analysis provides a distribution of scores where above a certain score the applicant is approved and below it is declined. When approved at a certain scoring band there is correlated loss rate. If the score is raised the loss rate should decline. If the rate is lowered expected losses would increase. That is in theory.

The question is how frequently should these scores be recalibrated?

How often are they analyzed and compared to expected value models.  And finally, are embedded scores working as projected?

Most companies use outside consultants to confirm those questions. Why bring engage consultants? Prevailing mindset is to ensure independent assessment and to minimize any unintended internal bias.

Greg Shelton is president at Partners Consulting, a management consulting firm specializing in operational assessments, workflow reviews and strategic planning for management teams in the accounts receivable management industry. Maria Singson is president and chief executive officer of twoMS.co, which offers risk and marketing analytics to help companies target profitable segments mitigate risks. Shelton can be reached at (678) 575-1136 or [email protected] Singson can be reached at [email protected] or (908) 499-4037.

2 ways tighter credit helped Car-Mart

Along with elaborating a bit about his upcoming retirement, America’s Car-Mart chief executive officer William “Hank” Henderson described how underwriting tightening in other areas of the auto-finance market is benefitting the chain of buy-here, pay-here dealerships.

The market change is improving not only the caliber of customer Car-Mart saw during the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year that ended on July 31, but also the quality of vehicles the company is able to stock at its 140 stores.

“We’re seeing some customers circle back,” Henderson said during Car-Mart’s quarterly conference call with investors. “They’ve been over there and tried the other side, and now they’re back. And I think that’s evident and actually our sales for peak customers is maybe at an all-time high. It’s very high during this first quarter.

“And then also I think we’re, as we mentioned, doing a little better job with our inventory, seeing some improvements there. And so I think all those things combined help push up the store productivity,” he continued.

Car-Mart posted increased sales volume productivity with 28.2 retail units sold per store per month, up from 27.9 for the prior year quarter.

All told, the company’s stores retailed 11,837 vehicles during the quarter with an average retail price of $10,386.

“We are pleased with our continuing efforts to improve the quality of our inventory and improve inventory turns and efficiencies, and these efforts are having a positive effect and will continue to benefit us as we move forward,” Car-Mart president Jeff Williams said.

“We will remain aggressive with our inventory management, but we will ensure that we have a good selection of quality cars, trucks and SUVs in our dealerships to attract our target customer,” Williams continued.

“As credit gets a little tighter in the markets above us, the flow of product then in our market becomes much better,” he went on to say. “We’ve been in a period for several years now where the flow into our markets has been stuck. It's maybe the new-car dealerships because that financing has been available.

“So as it tightens up, we get a better flow of products, and we get to start cherry-picking a little bit,” Williams added.

A few other metrics of note from Car-Mart’s Q1 performance included:

—Gross profit margin percentage decreased to 41.4 percent from 41.8 percent for the prior-year quarter.

—Net charge-offs as a percent of average finance receivables stood at 6.4 percent, up from 6.2 percent for prior-year quarter.

—Accounts more than 30 days past due increased to 4.6 percent of the portfolio, up from 4.4 percent at close of the previous year’s quarter.

—Provision for credit losses came in at 26.6 percent of sales versus 25.7 percent for prior-year quarter.

More on executive transition

As BHPH Report previously published, Car-Mart also announced Henderson will retire as CEO at the end of the year with Williams replacing him. Henderson discussed the move again during the conference call.

“It has been an incredible fantastic experience to be part of such a great team of people to help and build and grow this company into what is today, and I feel truly blessed to have had this opportunity,” Henderson said.

“Tremendous amount of gratitude to the hard working dedicated people with such high characters that I have been so very fortunate to work with throughout this time,” he continued. “We’ve been through some great times, and we’ve been through some very challenging times all along the way.

“They fought hard to preserve our company culture, and I cannot even begin to ever thank them all enough for their tireless efforts,” Henderson went on to say.

An analyst asked about who might take Williams’ position as chief financial officer and whether it will be a candidate from within the company or if Car-Mart might choose someone from outside its current executive ranks.

“We are in the process, and we’ll have some news for you guys just as soon as we can,” Williams said.

Advice for identifying risk as you build your portfolio

In the current issue of BHPH Report, we discussed what we classified as the “eight risk questions that might keep you up at night.” We spelled out each of .

Well, now let’s try to provide you some answers to those difficult questions so you can rest better. Let’s begin with how can we better identify risk as a buy-here, pay-here dealership?

Every approval model has, as a way of disclaimer, an accuracy percentage attached to it. The likelihood of someone going bad is known before approval, depending on which segment of the approval model they belong. If one decides to dip into the fifth decile of an approval model, which has 35 percent bad rate, versus only the second decile, which has only 10 percent expected bads, they will have also done the profiling to differentiate the bads in the fifth decile.

Therefore, if operators accept them into their books, the dealerships also have to be ready to manage them so that they can act as soon as the account starts to show signs of future misbehavior. This is a passive strategy.

An active strategy goes even further as to “shape” or train the right behaviors of those likely to be bad. Usually, this is the perfect hand off of the accounts from the approval model to the portfolio management models.

Once approved, knowing which accounts under management would most likely go “bad” is critical to managing the good. Early detection warrants immediate action.

What an advantage it would be to stand at the door of credit approval as hundreds of new accounts are scored and on-boarded.

As an account passes through various phases such as approval, activation and management, some go delinquent while others continue to repo or charge-off. From simply an origination score perspective, approvals have a known risk factor. Many origination scores predict the percentage of loss associated with a specific approval score band.

What we see however is fewer and fewer operators are assessing continued correlation between score bands and loss rates. Additionally, we also have to be prepared to ratchet up intensity levels of a work treatment strategy as accounts age based on its risk score.

Not only will we be able to assess portfolio quality this way but also a much more strategic approach to capacity and staffing.

Early risk modeling and performance scoring was a function of past historical payment experience, with some help from credit reporting data. Typically good data for new account approval but what we are talking to here is:

—Analyzing projected risk


—Course adjustments based on risk stratification.

Clustering known elements of risk attributes to deploy pre-established workflow strategies is critical to diverting known high loss potential accounts into unique queues so that they are worked with more efficiency, tracked by results and ultimately provide retrospective back as part of the risk artificial intelligence models.

Greg Shelton is president at Partners Consulting, a management consulting firm specializing in operational assessments, workflow reviews and strategic planning for management teams in the accounts receivable management industry. Maria Singson is president and chief executive officer of twoMS.co, which offers risk and marketing analytics to help companies target profitable segments mitigate risks. Shelton can be reached at (678) 575-1136 or [email protected] Singson can be reached at [email protected] or (908) 499-4037.

NABD’s plans are well in motion for fall conference

The industry just moved past Fourth of July, but the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers (NABD) is already looking toward late October when the organization hosts its next BHPH Conference.

The 14th annual conference — which has the theme Opportunity Knocks – Best Ways to Respond — is set to begin on Oct. 23 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Fla.

NABD president and founder Ken Shilson said, “The last 24 months have been extremely challenging for BHPH operators, but better days are ahead.”

Shilson acknowledged that increased competition, higher operating and compliance costs, have combined to reduce profits and BHPH market share. However, he added that competition is declining and former BHPH customers will re-enter the finance market when they default on vehicles they bought from the competition.

This conference will address ways to regain market share, find capital, avoid compliance mistakes and reconnect with the best customers, as well as underwriting and collection best practices that work in the current environment.

The program begins on Oct. 23 with a first-timer reception at 1 p.m. and ends at noon on Oct. 25 to facilitate return travel. Featured speakers are set include:

—Richard Flint
—Steve Siebold
—DJ Harrington
—Ingram Walters

Shilson mentioned that more experts who will provide important tips and insights to help attendees succeed are being added to the conference program.

“Their messages will benefit attendees long after the conference ends,” said Shilson, who noted that NABD will post an agenda online at . More details also are available by calling (832) 767-4759.

The conference will feature an exhibit hall to facilitate networking between experts and attendees. Anyone interested in exhibiting should call (832) 767-4759, as exhibit sales are currently under way and exhibitor space is limited.

Rosen Centre is conveniently located just minutes from Orlando’s airport and was recently voted one of the 75 best meeting hotels in America. Recently renovated, it offers the ideal facilities for this conference.

NABD has negotiated discounted room rates of $179 per night, with no resort fees, to make it affordable for everyone. Conference registration discounts are also available for attendees who make their room reservations and register for the conference before Sept. 22.

Visit or call (832) 767-4759 to register or for more information.