Regional Lenders Can Be Just as Important as National

MATTHEWS, N.C. — While many dealers may be more familiar with the national companies that support the subprime industry, the smaller, regional companies can be just as fruitful when it comes to getting that credit-challenged customer behind the wheel.

Here's an overview of a few of the smaller, regional special finance companies in the industry:

Ace Motor Acceptance Corp.

Doing business with independent and franchised dealers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, Ace Motor Acceptance has more than 30 years of experience in the indirect subprime lending arena.

The company's main center, which is responsible for funding, servicing and collections, is located in Charlotte, N.C.

The company said its Web site, , was created to offer its dealer partners the ability to enter all information into the system at one time and print out all the forms needed to close and fund a deal. Dealers also have the option to receive funding checks through ACH at no cost, according to officials.

Automotive Credit Corp.

Automotive Credit Corp. is based in Southfield, Mich., and serves hundreds of dealers throughout the Midwest, covering the states of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Virginia.

The company purchases installments contracts from both independent and franchised dealers and was founded in 1992.

Dealers looking to work with the company should be aware of ACC's basic requirements:

—A paved lot

—A minimum of 15 cars eligible for financing with ACC

—Billing software for form processing

—Two years in business as a car dealer

—Signed ACC authorization form to obtain bank account information

—Previous experience with subprime finance is strongly encouraged

Once a dealer is approved to do business with the company, executives said their sales representatives will teach dealers what the company is looking for with deal structures.

To learn more about the company, visit .

Auto-Use

Offering services in a variety of states, Auto-Use offers prime and subprime retail financing, along with floor-plan inventory financing and more. The company said its subprime lending delves as deep as the E-credit level.

According to the company, its financing covers "aggressive" mileage and term parameters, and covers vehicles up to 12 years old. Auto-Use has been doing business in the subprime industry for more than 10 years and the company claims it approves more than 95 percent of the credit applications it receives.

When it comes to response time, officials said dealers can expect back on decline or approval of a deal within two to four hours of submission. If all the documentation is correct, a dealer will see funding on an approved loan within 48 hours via an electronic check for retail contracts, executives noted.

For more information on the company, visit .

Dependable Credit Corp.

Dependable Credit Corp. is licensed to do business in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The company boasts that its credit guidelines are more flexible than most major financial institutions.

In addition to considering consumer FICO scores, the company said it looks at stability of residence, stability of employment, amount of down payment in relation to the price of the vehicle, in addition to paid auto loans and past or present delinquent accounts in a customer's credit profile.

Dependable said it has been in business since 1992, loaning a total of more than $60 million and providing financing programs to more than 250 used dealerships.

Once a credit application is approved, Dependable said it will initiate ACH credit to a dealer's checking account for the next business day.

For more information on the company, visit .

Friendly Finance Corp.

Friendly Finance Corp. was founded in Baltimore more than 50 years ago and specializes in providing financing programs for franchised dealers. Today, the company does business in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

Officials said they work with more than 600 dealers and have an aggregate outstanding balance of more than $45 million.

Some of the company's programs include:

—No cash down

—66 months on most contracts (term-based on amount financed and mileage)

—Quick funding (minimum stipulations including pay stub, phone bill, driver's license and references)

—Bankruptcy programs (pre-bankruptcy through discharged Chapter 7, Chapter 13 confirmed, open bankruptcy, minimum of one year into filing plan)

To learn more about the company, visit .

Lobel Financial

This company is based in Anaheim, Calif., and serves dealers in California, Arizona and Nevada. The company has more than 25 years of experience in indirect lending serving both franchised and independent dealers.

Officials said the company is managed by four Lobel brothers, who are active in the day-to-day operations and have a combined 90 years of experience. Executives also pointed out that they service their auto loan portfolio at the company's headquarters in Anaheim through automated servicing and collection systems.

For more information on the company, visit .

Nicholas Financial

Nicholas Financial is a public company that was established in 1985 to specialize in purchasing and servicing auto loans from franchised and independent dealers. The company has a network of branches in the Southeast.

More specifically, the company has 45 branch offices scattered throughout Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Maryland and Virginia.

Nicholas provides two primary types of service in the auto industry, bulk purchases of non-prime auto receivables and indirect lending.

For more information, visit .

Regional Acceptance Corp.

The company was founded in Greenville, N.C., in 1978 by two local businessmen. By 1995, officials said they had 17 branch offices, with the bulk of its business generated through commercial arrangements with dealers.

In September 1996, BB&T Corp. purchased the company. To this day, officials said they still maintain their company headquarters in Greenville and serve as a freestanding affiliate of BB&T.

The company now has branch offices in Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Officials said they also cover Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

According to the company's site, branches will soon be added in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

The company said it will finance up to 115 percent of the NADA standard trade-in value. Moreover, the company noted that in some instances, it will finance vehicles up to 80,000 miles.

Regional also has a portfolio acquisition group that purchases installment contracts from prime through subprime. Executives said pricing and terms are based on the overall characteristics of a portfolio.

To learn more about the company, visit .

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