Financing

AuSM unveils launch of Auto Fin Journal

CARY, N.C. - 

AuSM (CMG), publishers of AuSM and SubPrime Auto Finance News, and producers of Used Car Week, the Automotive Intelligence Summit and AuSM Canada — as well as additional leading auto industry events and media — has announced the launch of a new media property called the Auto Fin Journal. 

Launching this summer to select audiences with a full launch in the fall, the Auto Fin Journal will focus content on business intelligence for automotive and auto fintech executives.  With the rapid pace of change and technology in the automotive and auto fintech industries, the Auto Fin Journal will serve as a trusted resource for content, business intelligence and knowledge-sharing for industry executives, suppliers and franchise dealers.

The Auto Fin Journal will be in-market with a September/October edition highlighting the Women in Auto Finance with a smartly-defined circulation of 20,000. In keeping with CMG’s high standard of providing top level knowledge and networking, AFJ will be partnered with the Automotive Intelligence Summit and the Auto Fin Con (part of Used Car Week), as well as a regular e-newsletter bearing the AFJ name and branding. 

Nick Zulovich, Senior Editor of SubPrime Auto Finance News and the BHPH Report will lead the editorial and content management of the new AFJ, while CMG publishers Amanda Dunlap and Jessica Johnson will be co-publishers of the new media property.

“As we’ve grown our expert team over the last few years, Nick, Amanda and Jessica have proven time and again that they have exactly what it takes to be successful in their new and expanded roles with the Auto Fin Journal,” said Bill Zadeits, president and group publisher for CMG.  “Their ability to build relationships, gain trust and deliver excellent work on behalf of our audiences and customers makes this trio the perfect fit to lead the successful launch of the AFJ.”

The Auto Fin Journal will debut at the Automotive Intelligence Summit this July.  CMG is currently accepting expert contributor applications for content areas of auto fintech, regtech, insurtech, and others.  Interested parties should Nick Zulovich, [email protected].

 


PointPredictive unveils Fraud Data Exchange for consortium members

SAN DIEGO - 

PointPredictive wants to help auto finance companies to work together to combat fraud, so the firm is deploying an extension of its collaboration endeavors.

This week, PointPredictive announced the launch of Fraud Data Exchange, a new cooperative service that can provide auto finance consortium members with the ability to contribute data elements from confirmed fraudulent applications into a secure repository managed by PointPredictive.

Contributors can query the repository with data from an active finance application to receive industry-level “shared intelligence” about possible reuse of data elements associated with confirmed fraud at other lenders. The service is designed to detect serial fraudsters and bad actors that are driving a significant portion of the $6 billion in annual misrepresentation and fraud-related losses across the auto finance industry.

“Many fraud perpetrators operate under a cloak of anonymity that allows them to repeat the same fraud schemes for years by moving from lender to lender and dealer to dealer,” said Frank McKenna, chief fraud strategist at PointPredictive. “They succeed because lenders have not had a safe, secure mechanism for providing information about the schemes they detect — mail drop addresses, false businesses, fabricated application data and known fraud rings — and then accessing that same type of information reported by other lenders.

“Fraud Data Exchange helps participating lenders put an end to this criminal activity,” McKenna continued.

As part of the service, McKenna explained that PointPredictive will organize the collection and standardization of each participating lender’s negative files and scan the repository for possible reuse of negative data as new application and transaction information is received. He added that finance companies will receive alerts about any matching information detected, then these alerts can be used to drive actions by the finance company’s fraud investigators to identify if there is fraud present on an active application. 

“PointPredictive is excited to provide the enabling technology and secure infrastructure for Fraud Data Exchange. Participating lenders can be certain their contributed data will drive this industry-level fraud-fighting service, and it will be well-managed,” McKenna said.

The Fraud Risk Data Exchange will be formally launched May 30 at PointPredictive’s next Auto Lending Fraud Consortium Roundtable taking place in Fort Worth, Texas, just ahead of the .

At past meetings, finance companies representing more than 50 percent of the automotive industry have attended. PointPredictive expects greater attendance at the upcoming meeting where finance companies will share best practices and intelligence for preventing misrepresentation and fraud in the auto industry.

To receive more information about the Auto Lending Fraud Consortium or to participate in the Fraud Risk Data Exchange, PointPredictive at [email protected]

TransUnion acquires iovation to boost fraud-prevention portfolio

CHICAGO - 

TransUnion is putting more resources into fraud prevention.

On Friday, TransUnion said it has agreed to acquire iovation, one of the most advanced providers of device-based information in the world, strengthening its position in fraud and identity management.

While financial terms were not released, the company indicated the acquisition is anticipated to close late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter, pending regulatory approval.

TransUnion president and chief executive officer Jim Peck said, “iovation has unique device identity and consumer authentication capabilities that help businesses and consumers seamlessly and safely transact in a digital world.

“TransUnion has long been at the forefront of developing innovative fraud and identity solutions, and together with iovation, we will create an unmatched network of offline and online identities that will help make transactions faster and more secure, while providing a frictionless experience for consumers,” Peck continued.

TransUnion highlighted that iovation pioneered the device intelligence industry and provides a highly advanced digital device reputation consortium, with insight into nearly 5 billion unique devices from more than 35,000 leading brands across more than 50 countries.

With technologies that can dynamically identify new fraud patterns as they emerge, TransUnion and iovation’s combined solutions are designed to empower customers to quickly incorporate and adapt strategies to the fast-changing and evolving fraud landscape.

“Our combined solutions will empower trusted relationships by identifying, monitoring and protecting both businesses and consumers as they interact online all around the world,” said Chris Cartwright, president of TransUnion’s USIS division.

“Furthermore, our broad coverage of identities and devices will enable continued innovation in advanced analytics to confidently detect threats across channels, markets and geographies, to equip customers to grow and differentiate their businesses by emphasizing superior user experiences at all touchpoints,” Cartwright continued.

Cartwright mentioned that iovation offers customers a broad range of highly advanced real-time fraud prevention products, a risk-based dynamic authentication suite and a global consortium of shared fraud insights that delivers risk decisions in milliseconds. Products include:

• FraudForce: Real-time device reputation and verification insight identifies good customers, reduces reviews and helps prevent online fraud.

• SureScore: Machine learning that predicts transaction outcomes based on device trust, transaction and contextual or behavioral indicators.

• ClearKey: Passwordless authentication based on rigorous device fingerprinting and contextual insight

• LaunchKey: Multi-factor authentication lets mobile apps deliver advanced knowledge factors, cutting-edge biometrics and location and proximity methods for strong, simplified access to any site or service.

“Our mission has always been to make the digital world a safer place for both businesses and consumers, which perfectly supports TransUnion’s belief in using information for good,” said Greg Pierson, founder and chief executive officer of iovation. “My team is committed to working together with TransUnion to set the standard for stopping fraud and abuse while improving customer experience.”

Executives added that iovation’s extensive customer base and channel partners — including Callcredit, TransUnion’s pending acquisition in the U.K. — will also expand the company’s footprint globally and in markets like gaming and retail. TransUnion already provides fraud and identity solutions worldwide.

Fraud prevention is among the many discussions when a collection of experts participates in the .

PenFed Credit Union ramps up Nationals sponsorship to salute the military

TYSONS, Va. - 

The nation’s second largest federal credit union is taking servicemembers out to the ballgame.

This week, PenFed Credit Union announced it has signed a unique and expansive sponsorship deal with the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team. The new three-year agreement will expand upon a previous sponsorship and will designate a new, special area as “PenFed Military Appreciation Section” at Nationals Park.

“PenFed has been supporting the national military community and the greater Washington community for 83 years,” said James Schenck, president and chief executive officer of PenFed Credit Union. “The Washington Nationals have played an integral role in these communities for 13 years. Now we are stepping up to the plate together.

“We are especially proud to sponsor the Military Appreciation Section at Nationals Park for veterans and active-duty servicemen and women and their families,” Schenck continued. “This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for all that these brave men and women do, and have done, to protect our freedoms as Americans.

“We are expanding our sponsorship in May in honor of Military Appreciation Month. Moving forward, every day will be ‘Military Appreciation Day’ when the Nats are playing,” he went on to say.

 The partnership is centered around creation of the PenFed Military Appreciation Section, located in right field at Nationals Park. Included in the section, PenFed and the Nationals established a Tickets For Troops program which will make a select number of complimentary tickets available for military members to all regular season home games at Nationals Park (diamond and marquee level games included).

Tickets For Troops will be available through . Active duty, veterans, retired and DOD-civilians can claim tickets online then pick them up in person on the day of the game. A valid military ID or proof of service must be presented on site to claim tickets.

PenFed’s major sponsorship also includes significant advertising within the stadium including a permanent outfield wall sign, home plate rotational signage and digital signage. PenFed will also sponsor the PenFed Kids’ Fun Zone, frequented by thousands of military and civilian families each season. Throughout the season, PenFed will also be giving away additional promotional items in the PenFed Military Appreciation Section, such as sunglasses and T-shirts, and encouraging fans to engage on social media using #PenFedSelfie.

“Expanding our partnership with PenFed makes perfect sense given our shared commitment to both honoring members of the military and their families and serving the greater Washington, D.C. community,” said Alan Gottlieb, chief operating officer of Lerner Sports.

“The Washington Nationals strive to provide the best fan experience in sports and the enhanced kids play area and military ticket program announced today will both significantly add to our ballpark’s exciting game day atmosphere,” Gottlieb continued.

Former top Exeter, AmeriCredit leaders reunite again with FinTech firm

IRVING, Texas - 

After collaborating previously at Exeter Finance and AmeriCredit, auto finance industry veterans Mark Floyd and Kenneth Wardle are teaming up again; this time to leverage what’s happening online when consumers search for financing.

According to a news release sent to SubPrime Auto Finance News this week, Floyd and Wardle have acquired an equity stake in Horizon Digital Financial Holdings, an online auto finance technology firm located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The transaction was effective May 1.

Horizon Digital is the parent company for online consumer loan marketplace participant myAutoloan.com.

Floyd will serve as chairman and chief executive officer of Horizon Digital, and Wardle will serve as chief operating officer.

Greg Thibodeau will continue to serve as president of myAutoloan.com.

All of the Horizon Digital companies will be based at myAutoloan.com’s present office location, 5005 West Royal Lane, Suite 209 in Irving, Texas.

Since 2003, through myAutoloan.com and complementary auto finance websites, Horizon has generated approximately $11 billion in auto finance requests and refinance transactions for its strategic partners.  Horizon’s websites offer direct-to-consumer finance options that can allow consumers to apply for a variety of loan types and receive up to four real-time loan offers from national finance within seconds.

Floyd has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in the non-prime auto finance industry. Most recently, he served as CEO of Exeter Finance. Prior to Exeter, Floyd was Co-COO at AmeriCredit Corp., in addition to other executive roles during his 11-year tenure at the firm.

Prior to entering the non-prime industry, Floyd spent 20 years in banking in the Dallas area, serving in a variety of executive positions, including CEO, president and COO of several banks, as well as a principal shareholder of State Bank & Trust.

Floyd currently serves on the boards of directors of the National Automotive Finance Association, Renew Financial Services, DIMONT and Intellaegis.

“Having the opportunity to work with Greg and the team at myAutoloan.com to leverage a proven technology platform was an intriguing proposition, and the timing was perfect,” Floyd said.

“The myAutoloan.com platform is a proven marketplace platform that I believe we can take to a new level of service to existing lender clients, as well as consumers,” he continued.

Wardle most recently was CEO of Jet Capital, a merchant cash advance company headquartered in the Dallas area.  He was a co-founder of Exeter in 2006, where he served in various executive roles, including executive vice president, portfolio management. While at Exeter, he led operations in the areas of portfolio analytics, information technology, and credit review and servicing strategy design.

Prior to co-founding Exeter, Wardle held positions in risk management at Drive Financial Services, LP and AmeriCredit. 

Thibodeau said, “Horizon Digital was FinTech before anyone called it FinTech. When I saw that Mark had left the board of Exeter in 2016, I reached out to him to see if he would be interested in working with us at myAutoloan.com. Given his experience at AmeriCredit and Exeter, I’m glad he said yes. I am equally pleased he has brought Kenn onboard as a partner to work with us to develop the next growth phase of our firm.”

“To have Mark’s and Kenn’s experience and expertise in the non-prime industry is a big win for Horizon Digital. We are enthusiastic to have them as shareholders, as well as operating partners,” Thibodeau went on to say.

2 reasons why auto finance stabilized in Q1

CHICAGO - 

Brian Landau, senior vice president and automotive business leader at TransUnion, again used a single word to summarize the latest quarterly auto finance information he and his team assembled. Landau decided the first-quarter moniker should be stabilization.

Landau explained his thinking to SubPrime Auto Finance News as TransUnion released its Q1 Industry Insights Report that showed performance of non-prime vintages helped to construct his assessment.

“Just looking the data, this was a quarter of stabilization. That’s how I would define it for a number of different reasons,” Landau began.

“One is we’re kind of trending like how we’ve done in previous quarters as originations are still in decline year-over-year, but the rate of decline is starting to slow down a little bit. I think we’re reaching a point of stabilization with regard to that,” he continued.

“Another key point is around delinquencies, which are rising but rising at a much slower rate. It’s a much different message now than what it was in 2016. There was a hike from 2016 to 2017 but just a marginal increase from 2017 to 2018,” Landau said.

“More recent vintages in the non-prime space are starting to show some marginal improvement relative to prior vintages with delinquencies growing in a less accelerated manner,” he added.

“All of those signs are pointing to stabilization in the market right now,” Landau went on to say.

TransUnion’s Industry Insights Report showed that tighter underwriting and improvements in the oil states appear to be positively impacting serious auto finance delinquency rates per borrowers who are 60 days or more past due.

After growing from 1.16 percent in Q1 2016 to 1.30 percent in Q1 2017, TransUnion determined the serious delinquency rate stayed relatively flat at 1.32 percent in Q1 2018.

Analysts noticed the top six states with the largest annual decreases in delinquency rates in Q1 2018 — Alaska, Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and North Dakota — are among the eight states where oil, gas and mining account for 10 percent or more of gross domestic product.

TransUnion added the other two states — Louisiana and West Virginia — also performed better than the national average in terms of annual changes in 60- days past due rates for Q1 2018.

When asked to explain what the trends in those states mean, Landau said, “This is another case of anomalies regressing back to the average. I would say the same thing when we had the financial crisis. There were certain states like Arizona, Nevada and Florida that were heavily impacted by the mortgage crisis. Then you saw them rebound pretty well. I see this as a similar trend.

“Oil and mining are necessities when it comes to manufacturing and transportation. They help the economy move forward,” he continued. "Until we get to a point where we’re moving away from these sources of energy, that will always be the case. There will always be demand for these commodity products.”

While total auto balances rose 5.2 percent to $1.183 trillion, TransUnion indicated this figure marked the lowest annual growth rate since Q1 2012, which at the time was 4.2 percent and on the rise. TransUnion also observed continued shifting in the origination makeup of auto finance holders, which continues to migrate to higher credit tiers.

Analyst added overall originations, viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag, declined 1.5 percent in Q4 2017. This marked the sixth consecutive quarter of yearly declines, though the smallest such decrease was in 2017.

With that kind of streak in place, Landau responded to the thought of whether the industry could ever see the significant growth the auto-finance space enjoyed coming out of the recession.

“You had a little bit of the perfect storm there,” he said. “You had pent-up demand for new vehicles driven by the fact consumers were delaying their purchases during and shortly after the financial crisis we had. In addition to that, you had below average fuel prices and inexpensive credit fueling demand for more expensive vehicles. In a sense, that helped to promote more financing than in the past.

“To see that kind of growth doesn’t happen too often,” Landau continued. “It may not repeat any time soon, but I would say the market is resilient, and people will still need vehicles to get to and from work, to other places of importance. And vehicles aren’t getting any cheaper, so there will always be the need for financing.

“There is a greater demand now for SUVs and CUVs, which have a price point relative to sedans,” he added. “The OEMs are enhancing the technology in vehicles today, increasing the value of the product. The economy is fairly healthy right now. Wages are growing. Consumers have the means to make more expensive purchases.”

Q1 2018 Auto FinanceTrends

 

Auto Finance Metric

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

Q1 2016

Q1 2015

 

Number of Auto Loans

 

79.7 million

 

76.4 million

 

72.2 million

 

66.4 million

 Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (60+ DPD)

 

1.32%

 

1.30%

 

1.16%

 

1.02%

 

Average Debt Per Borrower

$18,581

$18,386

$18,065

$17,512

Prior Quarter Originations*

6.6 million

6.7 million

6.7 million

6.3 million

Average Balance

of New Auto Loans*

 

$21,678

 

$21,071

 

$20,598

 

$20,045

*Note: Originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag.

 

Q1 2018 Auto Loan Performance by Age Group

Generation

60+ DPD

Annual Pct. Change

Average Loan Balances Per Consumer

Annual Pct. Change

Gen Z (1995 – present)

1.76%

-1.1%

 $13,876

+ 2.8%

Millennials (1980-1994)

1.70%

-1.2%

 $17,650

+ 2.0%

Gen X (1965-1979)

1.49%

-0.7%

 $20,874

+ 1.7%

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

0.84%

+2.4%

 $18,485

+ 0.5%

Silent (Until 1945)

0.77%

+8.5%

 $14,512

- 1.2%

Source: TransUnion

Update on credit-card usage

TransUnion also offered a trove of information about consumers using their credit cards.

With more than 416 million credit cards and nearly 175 million consumers with access to them, analysts indicated credit card usage continued its upward trajectory in Q1, according to the latest TransUnion Industry Insights Report, powered by Prama analytics.

TransUnion’s report found that serious credit card delinquency rates per borrower (90 or more days past due) increased in Q1 2018 to 1.78 percent, up from 1.69 percent in Q1 2017. The delinquency rate is now level with the 1.77 percent mark observed six years prior in Q1 2012, though it remains below the 10-year first quarter average of 1.91 percent.

Analysts indicated the average card debt per borrower also followed a similar path as delinquencies during the last year, rising 2.63 percent to $5,472 in Q1 2018 from $5,332 in Q1 2017.

“Though delinquency rates are certainly rising, there are several reasons we do not believe this is a worrisome trend at this juncture,” said Paul Siegfried, senior vice president and credit card business leader at TransUnion.

“First, credit card issuers have been relatively conservative over the last five quarters, issuing more credit to lower-risk consumers compared to higher-risk consumers. Second, the credit limits they are extending to consumers in most risk tiers are generally lower than those they had issued in prior years,” Siegfried continued.

“Finally, we believe it’s a positive sign for the economy that more consumers have access to credit and that delinquency rates, while growing, are doing so at a slow pace and remain below levels observed immediately post-recession,” he went on to say.

3 executive moves at GrooveCar as credit-union member reach jumps nearly 60%

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. - 

As the number of credit union members its platform now can reach swelled nearly 60 percent year-over-year, GrooveCar adjusted its executive team with additional resources to support its credit union partners.

Three new management positions highlight GrooveCar’s increased focus on growing credit union’s auto financing business.

As director of business development, the company said Robert O’Hara now will oversee the management and growth of the GrooveCar credit union relations and GrooveCar Direct. O’Hara has worked in the credit union industry since 2001 and has been with GrooveCar since 2011, leading the development and growth of the GrooveCar Direct auto buying platform.

In his new role, the company explained O’Hara is tasked with growing GrooveCar’s credit union relationships in current and new markets and developing new automotive related financial programs and services for credit unions.

Prior to joining GrooveCar, O’Hara served as vice president of lending at Sperry Associates Federal Credit Union.

As manager of credit union relations, Daniel Bauer joined GrooveCar to fill this critical new position, supporting O’Hara. The company indicated Bauer will focus on managing current and future credit union relationships in the daily operations of GrooveCar.

Bauer has worked in the credit union industry for the last nine years in a variety of financing support roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He will work with credit union partners to provide training and auto financing program support for all GrooveCar products and services.

Prior to joining GrooveCar, Bauer held the position of regional lending specialist at Bethpage FCU. 

Furthermore, as director of dealer services, Frank Rinaudo will continue to lead the dealer relations area of operations with full focus on growing the automotive dealer base in current and future markets.

Executing on strategies to grow retail and lease business for our credit union partners is linked directly with the management and expansion of dealer relationships, and GrooveCar highlighted that Rinaudo is uniquely qualified to lead this critical effort.

Prior to joining GrooveCar more than 16 years ago, Rinaudo was with GE Capital Auto Financial Services.

Member reach grows by 58 percent

In other company news, GrooveCar recently released performance analytics for its online auto buying platform. The company said the newly compiled numbers demonstrate a rise in online engagement and participation year-over-year by members.

GrooveCar now reaches more than 4.3 million members, representing an increase of 58 percent over the previous year.

“These numbers are important as they tell a story of growth among the credit union community. The shift to online car buying is happening before our eyes. Members depend on the information provided by their trusted credit union to make important financial decisions, said Eric Budzinski, associate vice president at GrooveCar.

The GrooveCar Direct program has signed more than 250 credit unions of all sizes since 2016. The company believes the platform is an affordable online destination for vehicle research and shopping. Most credit unions consider an ROI-friendly platform a prerequisite to compete for auto financing among their members.

GrooveCar also share other analytics about member activity.

In the category of credit unions with less than 5,000 members, traffic grew by 62 percent over the previous year.

For credit unions above 5,000 and below, 100,000 members traffic increased by 61 percent over the previous year, and for larger credit unions of more than 100,000 members, traffic increased by 92 percent.

Budzinski pointed out the more time spent on promoting the resource had a direct effect on the engagement and traffic metrics.

“We found that the larger CUs, with members of 100,000 or more, spent additional time on getting the word out to members,” Budzinski said. “However, when the collateral marketing materials were used by all the credit unions, engagement increased dramatically, as the traffic metrics demonstrate.”

Other important engagement metrics include KPI (key performance indicator) data categories. These data categories support how members are using GrooveCar for their research needs when visiting pages of interest, how long they stayed researching and how quickly they left.

GrooveCar discovered that the average number of pages visited by each user increased by 6.8 percent, and the average length of time for each website visit also increased by 4.5 percent.

Finally, the number of single page visits decreased by 7.4 percent.

In total, GrooveCar determined that engagement rose more than 74 percent year-over-year.

The GrooveCar program utilizes analytics to help credit unions understand what's working and where attention needs to go.

“We can view performance of campaigns and work to understand how to reach members more effectively,” Budzinski said. “Auto loans are not an instant transaction, however with an auto buying platform, members are helped along in the decision-making process, with everything they need at their fingertips.

“The analytics construct an authentic picture of how the resource is helping to engage members while pointing out where improvements should be made. The program comes with all the tools, marketing collateral and support for credit unions to supply important auto buying resources for members, in a turn-key fashion,” he went on to say.

Ally lands another major relationship; this time with Sonic’s EchoPark

DETROIT - 

Ally Financial is continuing to diversify its relationship portfolio.

Adding to a parade of developments since the beginning of the year, Ally announced on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Sonic Automotive. Effective this month, Ally will be the provider of vehicle service contracts (VSCs) and guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage for the group’s EchoPark dealerships in Colorado and Texas.

Ally highlighted that EchoPark Automotive launched in the fall of 2014, and has been well-received for a “revolutionary” used-car experience in Denver, San Antonio, and now expanding to the Dallas market.

Through the agreement, EchoPark customers will have the option of adding Ally GAP and Ally Premier Protection service contracts to their purchases. GAP covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and the outstanding balance of a customer’s installment contract if the vehicle is totaled or stolen.

Ally Premier Protection covers the repair cost for more than 7,400 mechanical, electrical and safety components on a vehicle, as well as some related expenses such as trip interruption, rental car coverage, towing and 24/7 roadside assistance.

“With the EchoPark dealerships, Sonic is reshaping the perception and customer experience of pre-owned vehicle dealerships. At Ally, we share that passion for serving the customer and are excited to work with EchoPark to provide additional value and peace of mind with our products,’’ said Mark Manzo, president of Ally Insurance.

EchoPark is a pre-owned vehicle dealership focused on customer experience and making it easy to search for, buy and sell pre-owned vehicles. With modern showrooms that are integrated with technology, EchoPark dealerships are designed to create a car-buying experience that can allow customers to seamlessly transition between the online and in-store shopping experience.

Since 2014, EchoPark has expanded to eight dealerships in Colorado and Texas, with additional locations opening later this year.

“Exceptional customer experience and satisfaction are what EchoPark was founded on, and Ally’s dedication to the customer is an excellent match for our dealerships,” said Jeff Dyke, executive vice president of operations of Sonic.

“We look forward to working with Ally to offer F&I products that will provide customers with great value and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their vehicles are protected,” Dyke continued.

The relationship with Sonic continues a string of developments involving Ally since January of which included:

— In January, Ally announced that it entered into an agreement to purchase retail contracts from DriveTime. Under the agreement, Ally will make up to $750 million available to DriveTime for the purchase of retail contracts over the coming year.

— Ally and Drive Motors entered into a strategic relationship in March naming Ally the preferred finance company for Drive Motors. The agreement provides Ally with the opportunity to receive consumer financing applications submitted digitally by dealerships using Drive Motors’ software, which is an e-commerce solution for dealership websites.

— In April, Mobiliti, a new subscription service based in Detroit, said it will work with dealers to provide a vehicle subscription option to consumers, and it planned to launch this service in Austin, Texas. As far as its work with Ally, the two companies said they are “exploring options for a suite of offerings focused on Mobiliti and its participating dealers’ needs.”

For more on Ally, check out the podcast below with longtime and outgoing auto finance leader Tim Russi, who talked with Nick Zulovich at AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference in March.

Tennessee executive receives AFSA’s Outstanding Independent Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 

The American Financial Services Association recently held its 2018 Independents Conference & Exposition in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., an event that brings together institutions that oftentimes offer auto financing as well as other types of personal loans.

AFSA handed out its Outstanding Independent Award; an honor that went to Patrick St. Charles III, who is president and chief executive officer of Citizens Savings & Loan Corp. in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Outstanding Independent Award is given to an individual who has contributed significantly to the success of the financial services industry and the AFSA Independents Section through active involvement and participation in the community and the association. The award was presented by John Holden, chairman of Pioneer/Mariner Group in Cleveland, Tenn., the 1995 Outstanding Independent Award recipient.

St. Charles was elected to the Citizen’s Board in 1979, appointed Treasurer in 1992, CEO in 2003 and president in 2009. Citizens has been a member of AFSA since 1972. He has been actively involved in AFSA and the Independents Section for 25 years and currently serves on the AFSA Executive Committee and Board of Directors. He is also a strong supporter of the AFSAPAC and served on the Independents Section Board from 2011-2014.

In 2015, St. Charles testified for AFSA in front of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the Small Business Administration. He explained how the bureau’s small-dollar rule would hurt traditional installment lenders, particularly smaller lenders, and their customers.

St. Charles is also involved at the state level. He is a member of the Tennessee Consumer Finance Association, serving as president in 2014.

Megasys enhances partnership with Dealertrack

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. - 

Megasys and Dealertrack now are collaborating even more; a development that might be especially beneficial to subprime auto finance companies.

Megasys, a provider of complete loan servicing systems for the consumer finance industry, announced this week a new facet of its integral partnership with Dealertrack. The latest partnership integration quickens the indirect financing decisioning process with dealers utilizing Dealertrack’s Credit Application Network solution.

Megasys already relied on Dealertrack to manage the electronic lien and title (ELT) process for finance companies, where state mandates require both dealers and finance companies adopt a fully digital titling solution between them and their governing DMV office.

Megasys said it chose Dealertrack as their preferred ELT provider because of the ease of integration along with perfecting capabilities that speed the entire application-to-title process and lien/title management that helps mitigate fraud risk.

Now with the same ease of integration for the F&I portion of finance companies’ processes, Megasys indicated the Omega Loan Origination System has improved service for its subprime auto finance companies by automating the credit application delivery and decision process to provide real-time approvals, declines and counter-offers back to dealers.

“The vast majority of dealers in the subprime finance industry use Dealertrack’s Credit Application Network,” Megasys president Theo Austin said. “We are excited to expand our partnership with such a trusted industry leader. This Dealertrack integration supports our growing customer demand to provide seamless integration to streamline the credit application process.”

Cheryl Miller, vice president and general manager of F&I solutions at Dealertrack, added, “By integrating with Megasys’ Omega LOS, Dealertrack’s network of lenders can receive credit applications from their dealers in real time and return automated decisions — cutting down time consumers must spend in the F&I office.

“This drastically improves satisfaction with the entire buying process,” Miller went on to say.

For more information about Dealertrack, visit .

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