What Drove Wolters Kluwer Financial Services to Acquire AppOne?

MINNEAPOLIS and BATON ROUGE, La. — Now that AppOne has a parent company, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, the top executives from both companies offered insights into how the transaction will impact business.

Right off the bat, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services said it plans to retain the AppOne name for its subsidiary and all of its employees. The executive team's titles will remain the same and business will continue out of AppOne's headquarters in Baton Rouge, La.

"AppOne is a technology leader in this market, as well as in providing finance options and closing loan transactions in the independent market space," explained Brian Longe, president and chief executive officer of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. "Their success is fueled by their ability to meet market needs by providing many valuable services. We recognize these core competencies and do not intend to change AppOne's successful formula.

"What we do expect is to leverage dealer and lender relationships and look to use AppOne's automation tools to improve the buyer's experience and broaden financing options from a dealership perspective," he continued. "In addition, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services will improve its delivery of industry relevant compliance information and content through AppOne. We plan to add our compliance risk mitigation tools to the AppOne portal as appropriate."

Lee Domingue, CEO of AppOne, added, "This partnership will undoubtedly provide benefits to dealers, and they will notice a difference. By reducing funding time and offering more credit options, we believe dealers will see an immediate lift."

Since Wolters Kluwer Financial Services already has a Bankers System line of compliance content for lending transactions, Longe said the acquisition was a "perfect complement to AppOne's automated workflow solutions."

"Further, while Wolters Kluwer Financial Services already provides standard and customized pre-printed forms, electronic documents and e-contracting solutions to a majority of top-tier U.S. auto finance lenders, this acquisition allows us to serve the independent auto dealer market, a market that is significant and largely underserved," Longe pointed out.

He said both lenders and dealerships can realize benefits from the same compliance source.

"Each lender has specific expectations of receiving a consistent set of compliant documents with each loan transaction," Longe noted. "These same lending documents must also meet each dealership's compliance and business needs as well.

"Wolters Kluwer Financial Services combines its expertise in meeting the combined requirements of lenders and dealerships for the whole transaction, which takes the ‘friction' out of the process of matching buyers to the best financing solution," he continued.

Basically, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services said it decided on acquiring AppOne because it thought that by pairing the companies, it would better fulfill market requirements for both lenders and independent dealers.

As for AppOne, it saw the transaction as advantageous because Wolters Kluwer Financial Services already has a network of 5,000 dealers. Plus, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has worked with many lenders in its 25 years of experience.

"In addition, a successful auto financing model requires an appropriate set of lenders as well as dealers," Domingue highlighted. "Wolters Kluwer Financial Services will help add additional lenders to the AppOne solution from its customer base. By adding more lenders, dealers will have more financing options to offer customers. For auto buyers, this is a strong benefit because they will have an increased number of financing options."

With a $4.3 billion global information company serving as its parent, SubPrime Auto Finance News asked if AppOne had any plans to expand outside its traditional independent dealer marketplace into the franchised arena.

Domingue responded, "AppOne has been the pioneer in serving the independent dealer-lender relationship. That is our focus. We will continue to serve independents as a part of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, but on a much larger scale."

Longe indicated that his company sees the compliance community going completely electronic in the future. With his company's set of attorneys throughout the country that keep a close eye on legislation, judgments and more on a regional level, Longe said what his company can bring "to AppOne is the ability to proactively inform the market of upcoming regulatory events that affect both lenders and dealerships."

Domingue explained to SubPrime, "With challenging consumer credit problems and increased compliance concerns within the auto finance industry, both dealers and lenders alike need to have the best in class tools and services to not only maintain their business, but to flourish, even in volatile economic times. AppOne and Wolters Kluwer Financial Services provide the total solution."

He went on to say, "For years, AppOne has built the only sustainable value proposition to both the lender and the independent dealer, offering them the tools they need to gain a competitive edge and provide their clients with the best service possible. Being a part of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services' family now enables AppOne to expand this value proposition more rapidly. We feel both the lender and independent dealer have to win for the relationships to stay intact and grow."

Longe confirmed that his company will bring more lenders onto the AppOne platform, allowing dealers to increase sales. The addition of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services' offerings will also speed up the funding process for stores, he concluded.

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