Direct Lending in Auto Finance Aided by FinTech

Digital technology and fintech innovation in the auto lending space are enabling direct lending to become more popular among car buyers, said, representatives of direct lending companies at the Auto Finance Innovation conference, this week.

In comparing direct and indirect lending, they agreed that the direct lender is able to know more about the customer versus an indirect loan where a dealer “is in the middle of the transaction.”

“A lot of direct lending is refinancing where we get to see customer performance,” said Jennifer Heil Executive Director of Clearlane, an affiliate company of Ally Financial.

The other panelists were Jim Landy, founder and CEO of Springboard Auto; Samuel Lopez, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Carfinance.com; and Francois Peltier, Director of Open Innovation of RCI Bank and Services, a captive of the Renault Group.

The panelists agreed that customer satisfaction is high among customers of direct lenders. Lopez said his company has set up a survey that has two simple questions, but yields a wealth of information. The questions on the survey are: “What do you think (about the process and experience)? And Why?

“Customers tell you what they think and it’s a great way to get information directly from customers,” Lopez said. “The loan application is on our website and customers say they want to “self-direct” through the process until they don’t” at which point they complete the application with the help of a Carfinance.com representative.

Heil said Clearlane’s loan process had adopted a “gamification strategy” where at some point in the process, the applicant is asked if they want to go forward.