GWC Warranty appoints new chief revenue officer


This week, GWC Warranty, a provider of used-vehicle service contracts sold through dealers, appointed Brian Stach as the company’s new chief revenue officer.

In his role, Stach will oversee all of GWC Warranty’s field sales operations, including a nationwide team of area vice presidents, dealer consultants and trainers.

“Brian is a proven leader with a long track record of fostering highly engaged, successful sales teams focused on flawless execution and best-in-class customer service. Because of this, we believe that Brian is an ideal fit to lead GWC Warranty’s talented, industry-leading sales team,” GWC Warranty chief executive officer and president Rob Glander said.

Stach joins GWC Warranty following more than 15 years of successful sales management experience. Throughout his career he has spearheaded results-driven initiatives at numerous organizations such as CareerBuilder, Yahoo and DialogTech.

Most recently, he served as the vice president of sales for Internet Brands.

Fed maintains course during latest monetary policy action


Because of the Federal Reserve’s view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, a unanimous vote of the Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 percent to 1.25 percent, according to an announcement policymakers made on Wednesday.

Fed chair Janet Yellen explained the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2-percent inflation.

“Although the committee decided at this meeting to maintain its target for the federal funds rate, we continue to expect that the ongoing strength of the economy will warrant gradual increases in that rate to sustain a healthy labor market and stabilize inflation around our 2-percent longer run objective,” Yellen said during the opening statement of one of her regularly scheduled press conference following a rate decision.

“That expectation is based on our view that the federal funds rate remains somewhat below its neutral level — that is, the level that is neither expansionary nor contractionary and keeps the economy operating on an even keel,” she continued.

“Because the neutral rate currently appears to be quite low by historical standards, the federal funds rate would not have to rise much further to get to a neutral policy stance,” Yellen went on to say. “But because we also expect the neutral level of the federal funds rate to rise somewhat over time, additional gradual rate hikes are likely to be appropriate over the next few years to sustain the economic expansion.

“Even so, the committee continues to anticipate that the longer-run neutral level of the federal funds rate is likely to remain below levels that prevailed in previous decades,” he added.

Yellen also shared that the Fed expects that the overall U.S. economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace over the next few years.

“In the third quarter, however, economic growth will be held down by the severe disruptions caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria,” Yellen said. “As activity resumes and rebuilding gets underway, growth likely will bounce back. Based on past experience, these effects are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy beyond the next couple of quarters.

“Of course, for the families and communities that have been devastated by the storms, recovery will take time, and on behalf of the Federal Reserve, let me express our sympathy for all those who have suffered losses,” she added during the event that or at the top of this page. 

The majority of what the Fed and Yellen divulged on Wednesday didn’t surprise Comerica Bank chief economist Robert Dye, who assessed how the makeup of who is making future policies could leave an impact.

“Looking ahead, it is important to remember that there is potential for a very different Board of Governors next year after Janet Yellen’s term expires this coming February,” Dye said. “She may yet get reappointed by President Trump, but that is by no means assured.

“Yellen reinforced that the Fed was not locked into any particular policy action and would continue to digest data and adjust monetary policy accordingly,” Dye continued. “She remained noncommittal about the likelihood of her reappointment as chairwoman of the FOMC. However, she did admit that she has not had a recent meeting with President Trump.”

CoreLane debuts cloud-based tool to connect DMS and LOS systems

ORANGE, Calif. - 

CoreLane Technologies, a provider of innovative transactional connectivity solutions for automotive dealers and finance companies, on Monday announced the launch of CreditLane, a low-cost, scalable cloud-based platform for delivering data between dealers and finance companies.

CoreLane will debut the new platform this week at the defi SOLUTIONS Annual Client Summit in Las Colinas, Texas.

CoreLane explained the CreditLane platform can integrate with the dealer management system (DMS) and the finance company’s loan origination system (LOS), enabling the implementation of the system without the need for extensive training.

CreditLane receives contract information directly from the dealer’s DMS and transmits it to finance company, eliminating the possibility of keystroke errors caused by entering information multiple times. The finance company instantly receives the application through its LOS and responds with a decision that generates an alert and messages on the dealer’s DMS. 

The final deal structure is pushed back into the dealer’s DMS, reducing errors and streamlining funding.

CreditLane also enables finance companies to grow their portfolios by providing them visibility to a broad array of dealers. The CreditLane Lender Directory can provide marketing information to prospective dealers so finance companies can easily identify, connect and submit applications to CreditLane providers.

 “Since transitioning to the CreditLane platform, we have seen a positive impact on our ability to streamline our process and improve communication. The functionality of having real time updates between dealers and our origination departments has significantly reduced the time between receiving an application and being able to approve and fund the deal,” said Vic Amin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Veros Credit. 

“The efficiencies we’ve gained make every interaction faster and easier, which in turn, has helped to reduce our overall operating costs,” Amin continued.

 “We also wanted a solution that could accommodate our continued growth, and the CreditLane platform gives us the necessary customization and scalability to maximize productivity at a pace that we set,” Amin went on to say.

Bill Medved, senior vice president of technology and operations of CoreLane, is confident other finance companies can achieve the same benefit as what Veros Credit has experienced.

“We’ve spent over a year researching how dealers and lenders currently submit and process applications,” Medved said. “Based on the result of that research, we’ve partnered with multiple DMS providers and integrated with defi SOLUTIONS to develop CreditLane. 

“We look to partner with all key industry stakeholders to provide solutions that are ‘one-click simple,’” he went on to say.

As mentioned, CoreLane will be pushing out its new tool during defi SOLUTIONS’ event — defi FEST — at the NYLO hotel in Las Colinas, Texas, beginning on Tuesday.

During the event, defi SOLUTIONS will share company and product insights and information, and encourage collaboration through discussions and idea-sharing. The defi SOLUTIONS business model centers around collaboration, and this annual round-up of clients, partners and company team members is an opportunity to make certain everyone is benefitting from defi relationships and the defi lending platform of services.

 “This year we’re offering more sessions and topics of interest to our clients,” said Kartheek Veeravalli, defi’s chief product officer. “We’ve grown quickly, so we’ll also take this opportunity to make sure our clients are aware of the latest and greatest services our auto lending platform has to offer, such as Auto Structuring.”

An entire session will be devoted to the defi auto loan origination system (LOS) Auto Structuring capability, which automatically structures counter-offers according to a client’s individually customized credit policy rules. Other defi SOLUTIONS sessions include the Q&A company and product roadmap with chief executive officer Stephanie Alsbrooks and others from the defi executive team, two-way texting in loan management and servicing, the need for speed in current systems and architecture, as well as a presentation from defi chief operating officer Georgine Muntz on the use of technology in competitive strategy.

Additionally, defi partners will be presenting ‘bottom-line’ benefits case studies.

“Our sponsors are an integral part of this event,” said Patty Jefferson, defi SOLUTIONS vendor relationship manager. “defi clients won’t want to miss out on their interactive roundtable sessions.”

Digital Matrix System (DMS) is the event’s Big Kahuna sponsor. Other partners include AUL, Black Book, Cedar Document Technologies, Clarity Services, Corelane Technologies, Dealertrack, eOriginal, Equifax, FactorTrust, Hatteras, Kelley Blue Book, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Open Lending, REPAY, RouteOne, Solutions by Text and TransUnion.

RoadVantage releases non-branded F&I education videos

AUSTIN, Texas - 

RoadVantage wants educated customers arriving at dealership finance departments, so the F&I program provider rolled out a series of educational videos that are free and not tied to a specific provider brand.

RoadVantage acknowledged some providers offer proprietary branded product videos. But if a dealership carries products from more than one provider or changes product suppliers, RoadVantage insisted those videos become useless, requiring dealerships to switch out videos — or stop using them altogether.

Dealers and agents can post these on their websites or play them in their waiting rooms to raise consumer awareness of F&I products and the value they offer to consumers.

The product category videos include:

—Tire & Wheel
—Dent & Ding
—Key Replacement
—Theft Protection
—Total Coverage
—Vehicle Service Contracts

“Our philosophy at RoadVantage is a better customer experience,” RoadVantage chief exeucutive officer Garret Lacour said. “And we aren’t just talking about our products and claims service. We believe the entire industry benefits when dealers get involved with educating consumers about the value F&I products bring to the table.

“But we don’t just want dealers who offer our products to benefit,” Lacour continued. “We want every dealer to have the ability to offer professional, high-quality video content for the F&I products they offer. That’s why we decided to go this route with our videos, and why we are offering them free of charge to everyone who wants to use them.”

RoadVantage cited a 2016 study found that consumers who were educated on the value of F&I products before they entered the F&I office were three times as likely to purchase those products than consumers who were not educated.

“No matter what products or provider a dealership or agent chooses to offer, the entire industry benefits when we meet consumers where they prefer to get their information,” RoadVantage reiterated.

The videos can be downloaded at .

Spireon claims another honor for customer service

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Spireon gets to add another honor to its mantle.

The company recently received the prestigious Gold award for customer service in the 2017 Golden Bridge Awards; a program that encompasses the world’s best in organizational performance, innovations, products and services.

The win marks the second award that Spireon has earned so far this year for exceptional customer service. In May, Spireon won the Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in the 15th annual American Business Awards.

“Spireon is honored to receive a Golden Bridge award, which celebrates building bridges to connect companies with their customers. This is what we strive to do across all areas of our business, but particularly in customer service, where we pride ourselves on delivering an experience that has resulted in exceptionally high NPS scores and renewal rates from our customers,” Spireon chief executive officer Kevin Weiss said.

“I’m so pleased to see our dedicated and talented customer service team win gold — they earn it every day,” Weiss continued.

Recently, the company announced significant customer traction across all areas of the business in the first half of this year. Spireon added 3,200 new GoldStar dealers and finance companies, 25 new Kahu dealers and dealer groups, and 510 new FleetLocate customers.

The company attributed their success, in part, to a clear and demonstrable focus on customer service. 

Spireon exited the first half of 2017 with an average net promoter score (NPS) of 55, the company’s highest to date, far exceeding the industry average for business-to-business technology companies.

Darwin Automotive now working with 2,000 dealers


F&I software provider Darwin Automotive announced on Monday that it has reached a significant milestone — enrolling its 2,000th dealership nationwide. 

Since launching just 19 months ago, Darwin Automotive has achieved significant growth across the U.S., securing endorsements with the nation’s top F&I product providers and developmental agencies, as well as three of the top publicly traded dealer groups.

“We are proud to be part of such a great industry and want to thank all our business partners as the response to our application has been incredible,” Darwin Automotive chief executive officer Phillip Battista said.

Earlier this year, Darwin rolled out two of the largest auto groups in the country: Sonic Automotive and Group 1 Automotive, and is currently deploying three more of the top ten enterprise groups in the U.S.

In addition, just last month Darwin announced a new endorsement from Nissan Extended Services North America (NESNA).

“At a time of tremendous growth, we are not remaining idle but instead are continuing to innovate. In September we will be launching the only patented online selling system in the world with real-time F&I and accurate payments,” Battista said.

“Darwin is truly committed to protecting the profitability of the dealership. With Darwin Online, dealerships will be able to have a true F&I department; open 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, while providing a unique customer experience,” Battista added.

AUL promotes 2 executives to new positions

NAPA, Calif. - 

This week, vehicle service contracts administrator AUL Corp. announced the executive promotions today of Bryan Nieves to vice president of national accounts and Henry Paoli to national sales manager.

According to Jason Garner, AUL’s senior vice president of sales and business development, both promotions are effectively immediately.

Nieves was previously national accounts manager, a position in which he successfully cultivated vital long-term relationships with dealers, finance companies and agents during his 20 year tenure with AUL. According to Garner, Nieves has been the driving force behind AUL’s Preferred Partner Lending Program and Reinsurance Initiative, which has been well received by AUL clients.

Formerly business development manager, the company highlighted Paoli’s promotion came as a direct result of his passion for the business, ability to forge new relationships and generate results. While continually growing AUL’s agent client base, AUL mentioned Paoli remains focused on the long-term health of a client relationship versus a short-term gain.

“It is this type of leadership style that represents the AUL way,” Garner said.

Prior to joining AUL, Henry spent more than nine years as regional sales manager for GE Capital and more than 23 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves.

“Both Bryan and Henry continue to excel in their positions, while embodying the values to which AUL Corp. continually strives to uphold,” Garner said. “We are so pleased to announce their promotions and anticipate there will be more exciting announcements to come as a result of these two individuals’ efforts and work ethic.”

RateGenius hits new milestone, aims for 400,000 refinanced contracts

AUSTIN, Texas - 

RateGenius, an online auto refinancing platform, recently reached a milestone by refinancing more than 334,738 installment contracts, saving customers an estimated $350.5 million since its inception in 1999.

“It’s gratifying to know that we've helped so many people save such a magnitude of money. Knowing that many people live paycheck to paycheck lets me know that we provide a valuable service, and I'm extremely proud of that,” RateGenius chief executive officer Chris Brown said.

RateGenius now looks forward to helping 400,000 people refinance their vehicles — 334,738 down, 62,262 to go.

“You do good things, good things come,” Brown said. “Our momentum is tremendous. People are realizing that we are great and are telling their friends. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising.

“Every day the number of referrals that we get grows. We look forward to seeing our network grow and continuing to help as many people save money as we can,” Brown went on to say.

Edmunds notices down payments keep rising for used and new financing


While many of the August auto finance metrics Edmunds compiled and shared remained stable on a year-over-year basis, analysts did spot one rise that should be pleasing to finance companies.

Edmunds noticed increases in down payments in August for both new- and used-vehicle transactions, compared to the same month last year. For new models, the average down payment climbed by 5.9 percent to land at $3,667.

The average used-vehicle down-payment jump was even more, coming in at $2,480, which represented a 7.2 percent increase year-over-year.

Looking back to five years ago, Edmunds found that down payments on both used and new financing is much higher. Analysts pegged the rise on the new-model side at 9.1 percent and 14.7 percent for used vehicles.

As seen in the chart below, Edmunds determined four of the other major auto finance metrics did not change much in August.

New-Vehicle Financing Trends
  August 2017 Change from August 2016 5-Year Change
 Term  69.3 months  0.8%  6.8%
 Monthly Payment  $507  0.6%  10.1%
 Amount Financed  $30,473  0.2%  15.5%
 APR  4.8%  10.9%  17.8%


Used-Vehicle Financing Trends
  August 2017  Change from August 2016 5-Year Change
 Term  66.7 months  -0.1%  5.5%
 Monthly Payment   $382  1.4%  5.1%
 Amount Financed  $21,091  0.9%  11.2%
 APR  7.5%  2.6%  -6.1%




FactorTrust partners with Enova Decisions to bolster consumer credit availability


This week, alternative credit data provider FactorTrust announced a partnership with predictive analytics and digital decisioning company, Enova Decisions, to integrate FactorTrust’s proprietary data into its Colossus digital decisioning platform.

Executives highlighted the integration will strengthen Enova Decisions’ platform with additional proprietary data that will result in improved automated, real-time operational decisions for its customers.

Chicago-based Enova Decisions supports numerous industries, including financial services, telecommunications and higher education. The company’s data-driven solutions can help clients in the financial services industry specifically improve their operational decisions instantly and at scale.

“FactorTrust is proud to assist industry leaders like Enova Decisions with their data needs,” FactorTrust chief executive officer Greg Rable said. “Our alternative credit data enables their clients to gather the full picture on likely consumers, thereby extending appropriate credit options to consumers that may otherwise not receive it — a shared goal of FactorTrust and Enova Decisions.”

In its 14-year history, Enova, parent company to Enova Decisions, has extended more than $19 billion in credit to nearly 5 million customers around the world, using Enova Decision’s advanced analytics and decisioning technology.

“Adding additional non-traditional data is important to our overall data integration strategy,” Enova Decisions chief analytics officer Joe DeCosmo said. “FactorTrust’s proprietary data helps fill in the gaps that traditional data can’t provide—and contributes to our analysis of consumer data in real-time through our tailored analytics, AI and decisioning technology.

“This further enables our clients to quickly transform their underwriting, offers, payments decisions and more, to deliver a better customer experience and improve business performance,” DeCosmo added.

FactorTrust again among Inc. 5000

In other company news, FactorTrust was named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. by Inc. 5000. For the second consecutive year, not only was the company the only private, alternative credit bureau to make the list, but it was also ranked the eighth fastest-growing financial services firm in Georgia.

This is the fourth year FactorTrust has been named to the list for its significant growth in revenue and company size. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small and midsized businesses. The average company on the list achieved a three-year growth of 481 percent.

“Our growing team of industry champions set us on the path to unprecedented growth in both revenue and innovation in recent years,” Rable said. “Our team’s expertise, coupled with better recognition of the impact of alternative credit data for evaluating creditworthiness of underbanked consumers, is driving FactorTrust as the leading alternative credit reporting and analytics agency.”

The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at .

“The Inc. 5000 is the most persuasive evidence I know that the American Dream is still alive,” Inc. president and editor in chief Eric Schurenberg said. “The founders and CEOs of the Inc. 5000 tell us they think determination, risk taking, and vision were the keys to their success, and I believe them.”

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