Using math and time to overcome VSC objections


The training team at GWC Warranty acknowledged even the best F&I presentations are oftentimes countered with an objection over the added monthly cost of a vehicle service contract. The company also understands how dealers emphasize that overcoming this common customer concern can make or break the store’s entire F&I operation.

In an effort to clear these challenges, GWC Warranty explained some helpful strategies using basic math formulas that might not even necessitate the calculator app on your smartphone to process.

“In most cases, it’s simply a matter of breaking down the costs into simpler terms,” GWC Warranty explained in a recent blog post. “By speaking about the month-to-month investment and the potential cost of repairs in a relatable way, you stand the best chance at convincing a customer that a vehicle service contract is worth the price.”

GWC Warranty suggested that F&I office staff can describe costs time specific timeframes. The company first began with a day-by-day explanation.

“When you break down a monthly payment — even without a service contract — it can help make things easier for the customer to digest,” the company said, while computing that a $300 monthly payment can be viewed as costing the customer $10 per day to have the vehicle.

If a vehicle service contract lifts that monthly payment to $350, GWC Warranty recommended showing the customer that means the daily cost would only go up by a little more than $1 a day.

“Doing the math this way makes it easier for a customer to understand that just $1 a day could be worth the peace of mind to know that unexpected repairs won’t cripple their budget,” GWC Warranty said.

Next, the company showed how F&I managers could show the value of a VSC via a week-by-week scenario.

“Most of your customers fight back on added costs because of the value they place on every hour they put in during a 40-hour work week,” GWC Warranty said. “You can use this priority on weekly work to discuss what it would cost to overcome a major repair.

“Using your customer’s credit application, you can work backwards to estimate an hourly wage,” the company continued. “If a $2,000 repair occurs, use the hourly wage to determine how many hours of work would be needed out of that 40-hour week to cover the repair.

“Compare this to the number of hours of work it would take to cover the cost of a service contract each month,” GWC Warranty went on to say. “Your customers will begin to see how much easier it is to regularly absorb the service contract cost as opposed to that of a major repair.”

Finally, GWC Warranty close by touching on the month-by-month setup by reviewing the customer’s monthly budget. The company recommended that F&I representatives work the customer to compile six months’ worth of payment with and without a service contract.

Then, inject that a major repair happens on the fourth month and review the two plans.

“On the list with a service contract included, add a $100 deductible to the payment. On the month with a major repair, add $2,000,” GWC Warranty said. “Now, ask your customer which is easier for them to overcome during a regular month.”

This blog post and other instructional material can be found on GWC Warranty’s website.

EFG Companies unveils tool so dealers can self-adjudicate claims


This week, EFG Companies launched what it’s calling EFG Express Claims, one of the industry’s first claims automation systems that can enable dealerships to self-adjudicate claims and receive automatic approvals.

The company explained EFG Express Claims can automate the claims adjudication process using self-service features within DRIVE, EFG’s client portal. Using EFG Express Claims, dealership service managers have the ability to:

• Search for open contracts on behalf of their customers and see exact coverage levels

• Open and submit claims

• Automatically adjudicate and approve claims meeting certain parameters set by dealership management and EFG

• Receive automatic payment by corporate credit card within one hour of claim approval

“In today’s tight sales environment, dealers are focusing their attention on creating repeat business through the service drive and dealership-wide improvements in customer service,” EFG Companies executive vice president John Stephens said. “That’s why we developed the EFG Express Claims platform.

“Think about it from the service manager’s point of view,” Stephens continued. “When a customer does not have their vehicle service contract information, which happens quite often, there is usually a multitude of phone calls and emails to obtain the information, causing delay in both filing the claim and getting the vehicle in the queue for repairs.

“With EFG Express Claims, the manager can look up all in-force contracts for any given vehicle,” he went on to say. “They can electronically submit the claim and receive instant approval. The customer is happy because work can begin more quickly. The service manager is happy because they can process the work on the vehicle more quickly and secure payment faster.”

For those claims that fall outside of the parameters for automatic approval, the company indicated EFG Express Claims can reduce the manual process of calling a claims service representative, and repeating all the necessary information for them to enter it into EFG’s system.

Instead, the platform can submit the claim and populates it within EFG’s internal system for claims processing. This further speeds up the entire process across the board.

“Each year, EFG endeavors to expand the company’s training, protocols, and software solutions in the effort to provide expeditious and high-quality customer service for contract holders and dealership service managers,” said Ken Overly, vice president of operations at EFG Companies. “Ninety-six percent of our claims are paid in one hour. We maintain an average 26 second speed to answer, and 67 percent of our total claims are one-call claims.

“However, no matter how quickly our team can answer calls, fill out claims information, and process the claim, it still takes time to open and close a claim,” Overly continued. “With EFG Express Claims, we make the process instantaneous in some cases, and drastically cutting claim processing time down for more complicated claims.”

EFG’s claims adjusters maintain an average of 12 years of experience, and are ASE and BenchmarkPortal-certified. Since 2010, EFG has invested more than $17 million in technology resources and IT development, with the goal of making EFG the easiest and most efficient company with which to conduct business.

In addition to EFG Express Claims, EFG can provides full contract automation, online contract cancellation quotes, online cancellation, a sophisticated skill-based routing system directing complex claims to the best qualified adjuster, and an online Parts Wizard to identify the highest quality parts from suppliers across the nation, at the lowest price, and in real time.

For more information about EFG Express Claims, go to this website.

COMMENTARY: Watching for signs of commercial-side weakness

CARY, N.C. - 

We often report on the delinquency rates of vehicle installment contracts held by consumers. Later this week, TransUnion plans to share its second-quarter data with SubPrime Auto Finance News.

But what about the repayment activity by dealerships associated with the commercial financing business? While there doesn’t appear to be industry-wide data available like what’s generated by TransUnion as well as Experian and Equifax on the consumer side, the Q2 updates from General Motors Financial as well as KAR Auction Services give at least a little sense of what might be happening in that part of the credit world.

First, let me start with GM Financial, which stated in its Q2 report that its total global receivables in the commercial space stood at $9.7 billion. Chief executive officer and president Dan Berce told investment analysts “commercial lending has experienced steady growth in the U.S." A year earlier, the overall figure stood at $6 billion.

Berce noted that GM Financial had 827 dealers in the U.S., leveraging its commercial services as of the close of the second quarter, a 25-percent lift above the same point a year earlier.

As far as those dealers maintaining their commitments, GM Financial reported that its allowance for losses as a percentage of commercial finance receivables, net of fees, remained at 0.5 percent on June 30; the same figure as the close of 2016.

Meanwhile over at KAR, activity at Automotive Finance Corp. offered a slightly different perspective on the commercial-space story.

The company reported AFC’s Q2 revenue declined by 4 percent in part because management increased the provision for credit losses to 2.6 percent, up from 1.3 percent a year earlier. That uptick translated to $6 million, according to KAR Auction Services chairman and chief executive officer Jim Hallett.

“As I look at AFC, we continue to operate our finance company very conservatively. The number of loan transactions was relatively flat,” Hallett told attendees on the company’s quarterly conference call. “The provision for credit losses was 2.6 percent of average loan balances for the quarter. We’ve told you that we expect lower loan losses in the second half of the year.

“While the second-quarter loan losses were up as expected, I have good news to discuss within the quarter,” he continued. “The loss provision was high in April and May as we ran off the defaulted loans that we had discussed on previous calls. Our June provision for credit losses was below our expected loss rates of 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent of our average receivables, as the credit quality of our portfolio has continued to improve.

“This is a very good indicator for what we expect to see in the second half of 2017,” Hallett went on to say.

While Hallett made those assessments during the opening portion of KAR’s call, Wall Street watchers continued to probe about the health of AFC’s portfolio and dealerships’ ability to maintain their floor plan payments. AFC’s total managed receivables softened slightly year-over-year to $1.736 billion.

“Listen, what happened for these higher loan losses were a very small number of dealers with larger credits that probably misjudged what was happening to used-car prices at the higher end of the market,” KAR Auction Services executive vice president and chief financial officer Eric Loughmiller responded.

“I think they just caught with inventory that had some depreciation in terms of prices falling, and maybe they got caught with inventory that was overpriced at the wholesale market,” Hallett interjected. “But I think the other thing that’s important to point out here is that the independent dealer is still doing quite well.

“The independent dealer year-over-year is showing an increase in the total number of used-car sales. So, it's still a very healthy market and a very healthy group of dealers. And I’ll just repeat what Eric said, I think this was just a very small group of dealers that really got over their skies on some of their buying and got caught with that heavy inventory,” Hallett went on to say.

So perhaps just like some car buyers who take on too much debt and end up in delinquency, a few dealers ended up in a similar kind of financial pickle when acquiring inventory, at least if some of the AFC figures and anecdotes from Hallett and Loughmiller are any indication.

As we all watch the movements of wholesale prices and retail sales for the remainder of the year, it might be worth keeping an eye on commercial financing activity, too. Not intending to pull any fire alarms here, but if both dealers and vehicle contract holders begin to fall behind en masse, it’s going to be finance companies left to look for collateral in the driveway — and maybe the showroom, too.

Nick Zulovich is senior editor of SubPrime Auto Finance News and can be reached at

Capital One closes $23M floor plan revolver with Missouri dealer


On Monday Capital One announced that the finance company provided a $23 million floorplan line of credit to Johnny Londoff Chevrolet, a second-generation family owned dealership that has been in business for more than 60 years in Florissant, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.

“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Londoff Chevrolet and provide the dealership with the highest level of customer service,” said Michelle Carriere, senior vice president and manager of Capital One’s Commercial Dealer Services Group.

Johnny Londoff Chevrolet offers a large inventory of new and certified pre-owned vehicles, carrying an abundant supply of makes and models. The store also provides parts and repair services.

“We were impressed by Capital One’s responsiveness and attention to detail in our discussions,” said John Londoff Jr., owner and president of Johnny Londoff Chevrolet. “Through Capital One’s Commercial Dealer Services and Capital One Auto Finance, I have the banking relationship I was looking for, one that meets both my commercial and retail needs.”

Capital One Bank’s Commercial Dealer Services Business can provide a wide array of banking and financing solutions to franchised dealerships, as well as providing them strong retail support through Capital One Auto Finance.

CARite taps Westlake for installment contract financing


A dealership chain specializing in subprime leasing now has a captive-like relationship with one of the market’s larger finance companies to serve customers who would rather make a purchase through a vehicle installment contract.

On Thursday, Westlake Financial Services and CARite announced a strategic partnership to offer financing, dealer support and other services across CARite’s growing nationwide network of dealerships. With the partnership, Westlake will become the leading provider of retail installment contract financing for subprime and near-prime customers at CARite branded dealerships.

“Westlake’s offerings perfectly complement CARite’s existing leasing platform,” CARite chief operating officer Mike Cavanaugh said. “As a lending partner they understand the value of our business model and have developed a program designed with our customers in mind. Their efforts have resulted in a six-fold increase in originated contracts since our pilot with them began.

“Over the same period of time our captive leasing business has grown significantly as well,” Cavanaugh continued. “We are very proud of the partnership we have developed with Westlake and trust that the alignment of our goals will help both organizations continue to grow in the years ahead.”

Westlake president Ian Anderson, a previous recipient of the Subprime Auto Finance Executive of the Year Award given during Used Car Week added, “CARite has proven to be a great partner for us. While CARite delivers many vehicles through their captive leasing company, some customers simply prefer to buy. “Our product allows CARite dealerships to provide their customers with a great option to purchase a vehicle outright.

“With a professionally branded dealer network following standard processes they’ve given us the confidence we need to create a custom advance program that works well for everyone involved,” Anderson went on to say. “We’re thrilled with the results so far and we’re excited to grow our relationship as the CARite network expands.”

RoadVantage makes 3 executive moves

AUSTIN, Texas - 

F&I program provider RoadVantage made a trio of personnel moves this week, including promoting Randy Ross to president of sales.

Ross, who previously was RoadVantage’s senior vice president of sales, has been with the company for five years and has been instrumental in its rapid rise to success. Prior to that, he owned Ross Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Boone, N.C., for nearly 15 years. He was also the platform president and co-founder of Group 1 Automotive from 1997-2000; managing partner for 13 years at Town North Nissan Mitsubishi, Elgin Ford, Round Rock Nissan in Austin, Texas; and began his automotive sales and management career at a sister dealership in the Dallas market.

“From the start, I have believed in the power of the mission here at RoadVantage,” Ross said. “We have some of the most talented people in the industry, the most comprehensive products, and certainly the most amazing claims staff in the business. I am extremely proud at what we have accomplished so far, and with these two awesome additions, this is only the beginning of where we’re going to take this company.”

Keith Cooper — formerly the senior vice president of sales at Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS) — has been hired to replace Ross as the new senior vice president of sales. Cooper will spearhead the company’s national sales efforts, looking to continue the growth the company has experienced every year since it was founded.

Prior to his tenure at IAS, Cooper served as the executive vice president and general manager at the Genesis Marketing Group. He has held roles as the director of national sales for Gulf States Financial Services; president, COO and partner at Triple Protection Auto Care; and president and general manager for Walkaway USA.

“This is an exciting next step for me, and I am beyond pleased to be joining RoadVantage,” Cooper said. “This is a company that values people, while ensuring they have the absolute best possible products on the market. I am truly excited be a part of the next stage of their growth and evolution.”

And in other company news, Steve Chandler has been named the new national vice president of sales and will be joining the RoadVantage team in September.

Chandler was most recently the regional vice president at CNA National where he was responsible for growth, management and agent relationships for the western part of the United States. He and Brad Blizzard, RoadVantage’s other national vice president of sales, will report directly to Cooper.

Previously, Chandler has held the position of regional vice president at Protective Life, director of operations and marketing at Trend Personnel, and vice president of training services at EFG Companies.

“I have watched RoadVantage grow into a powerhouse in this market, and I am excited to be joining the team,” Chandler said. “This is an amazing opportunity, and I look forward to helping them continue this forward momentum.”

RoadVantage chief executive officer Garret Lacour added, “There is a reason we are the fastest growing F&I company in the industry, and that’s the people. We have an incredible team, and I know that Randy, Keith, and Steve are all going to do great things. We’re just getting started.”

Fusion buys GrooveCar Family of Brands

BEDFORD, Texas - 

Fusion Auto Finance, a company in the credit union leasing space, has purchased the GrooveCar Family of Brands, the businesses said in a news release Thursday.

Included in the GrooveCar Family of Brands are CU Xpress Lease, an auto lease program for credit unions, and GrooveCar Direct, an online buying platform exclusive to credit union members.

Also included in the purchase are CU Xpress Lease CA, CUAutoCoupon and GrooveCar, Inc.

CU Xpress Lease had been a joint program between Fusion and GrooveCar Family of Brands, before the purchase.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“GrooveCar provides an exciting opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships with our credit union partners and to accelerate our growth plans into new markets,” Fusion Auto Finance chief executive Jim Calvert said in a news release. 

“We’re excited to welcome the GrooveCar team to our organization and look forward to working together to further enhance our product offering.”


RouteOne adds Integrated Lending Technologies as certified origination system


This week, it was announced that Integrated Lending Technologies (ILT) is now an eContracting certified loan origination system (LOS) with RouteOne.

The companies highlighted finance sources utilizing either of ILT’s systems now can benefit from a streamlined eContracting implementation process.

Both DILLS, ILT’s legacy system, and its recently released Allegro Lending Suite, are certified by RouteOne as loan origination systems that have fulfilled the requirements for the base eContracting functionality on the RouteOne system. Certification of an LOS can help to ensure that the technical implementation for finance source customers who choose eContracting is a fast and easy process.

RouteOne’s certification can allow ILT to begin enabling eContracting functionality with RouteOne for its rapidly growing finance source base.

Safe 1 Credit Union is one of the most recent finance sources to benefit from ILT’s certification.

RouteOne has booked more than 7.5 million eContracts to date. RouteOne has more than 6,200 active eContracting dealers and 36 finance sources in its rapidly growing eContracting customer base.

“We’ve recently seen significant growth in eContracting utilization on a YOY basis,” RouteOne chief executive officer Justin Oesterle said. “By ILT completing this certification, they are enabling their entire customer base to easily implement and benefit from eContracting.

“This rapidly growing eConracting solution is on its way to becoming the business standard for auto finance,” Oesterle continued.

ILT president and CEO Will McGregor added, “We’re very pleased to be able to offer RouteOne’s eContracting service to the technical solutions available to our lender clients."

McGregor went on to say, “eContracting will enable our clients to take full advantage of our own digital documentation system, DigiDocs, and to focus on their own processes while allowing Routeone to manage the dealer’s side of electronic documentation.”

Finance sources interested in eContracting can contact a RouteOne finance source account manager at (866) 768.8301 or got to

60 dealers to participate in GWC Warranty Elite Dealer Conference


GWC Warranty this week announced details of its first-ever Elite Dealer Conference. The Elite Dealer Conference offers 60 dealers and their guests the opportunity to venture to some of the world’s most picturesque destinations.

“It’s our partnership with our Elite Dealers that has helped GWC Warranty become the largest and best-in-class used vehicle service contract provider in the independent used-car industry,” said GWC Warranty chief executive officer and president Rob Glander. “The Elite Dealer Conference is our way of rewarding our most loyal partners with memorable, once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities.”

Eligible GWC Warranty Elite Dealers who qualify for the Elite Dealer Conference will have the opportunity to earn a spot for themselves and a guest on one of two unforgettable trips.

A total of 50 first prize winners will win a trip for themselves and a guest to Le Blanc Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Elite Dealers on this trip will spend four nights at the resort that was ranked the No. 2 all-inclusive resort in the world and also named a 2017 Travelers’ Choice by TripAdvisor.

The top 10 performing Elite Dealers will be awarded as grand prize winners with a spot on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Silver Wind by Silversea. This incredible voyage will set sail to some of the most luxurious destinations in the world including Barcelona, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Portofino, Italy; Sète, France; and Marseille, France.

To register and find complete trip details, including information about eligibility, qualification and how to win, GWC Warranty Elite dealers can visit

Credit Acceptance has long-range hopes for sales force


As the company acknowledged an inquiry from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Credit Acceptance leadership discussed its sales force during a good portion of its latest conference call with investment analysts.

Credit Acceptance shared as a part of its second-quarter finance report that the company expanded its sales team by “roughly” 20 percent year-over-year in an effort to broaden its active dealer network, which stood at 7,635 as of June 30. On the same date a year earlier, the figure stood at 7,181.

The company classifies active dealers as ones who have received funding for at least one contract during the quarter.

Chief executive officer Brett Roberts described the volume of active dealers joining the company’s network as “OK,” acknowledging the 910 stores to sign up during the second quarter marked a 13.9-percent improvement versus the same quarter a year ago.

“But sequentially we had a decline in active dealers,” Roberts said. “So I guess the goal, obviously, is to sign up more dealers than we’re losing. We didn’t do that in Q2, but we hope to do that in the future.”

The company also noted its dealer attrition rate deteriorated slightly in Q2, rising to 21.5 percent. A year earlier, the rate stood at 17.5 percent.

Credit Acceptance defines attrition according to the following formula: Decrease in consumer loan unit volume from dealers who have received funding for at least one dealer loan or purchased loan during the comparable period of the prior year but did not receive funding for any dealer loans or purchased loans during the current period divided by prior year comparable period consumer loan unit volume.

Roberts pointed out that Credit Acceptance’s current sales team is double the size of what it had been a few years ago, and the company is expecting to “increase it a little bit more.”

Roberts told conference call participants, “I think if you look at the last time we increased the sales force, it took us about two years to roughly double the sales force, and really, almost three years before productivity got to where it was before we started the expansion. So it was overall about a five-year process to double the sales force.

“We’re not trying to double it this time, and hopefully, we’ve learned a little bit from the first time. But it’s still more of a long-term driver than a short-term driver,” he continued.

With a larger team comes more expenses. Credit Acceptance reported for Q2 that its 11.9 percent or $6.5 million increase in operating expenses stemmed from an increase in salaries and wages expense of $2.6 million, or 8.6 percent. This was primarily related to our servicing function as a result of an increase in the number of team members along with an increase in sales and marketing expense of $2.5 million, or 21.0 percent, due to an increase in the size of its sales force.

Roberts explained that having a robust sales force can help Credit Acceptance navigate the challenges of a competitive auto-finance landscape.

“Our outlook is that we're planning on the current difficult environment lasting for the foreseeable future,” Roberts said. “And if that turns out to be too pessimistic, then that’s great. But that’s what we’re planning for. And so I guess we look at the numbers. We feel like our chances of growing are a lot better if we have a little bit larger sales force, so that's what we're working toward.

“We had two quarters of negative unit volume change. And this quarter was up, but it was only up 1 percent,” he continued. “I don’t think that the additions to the sales force really added much to that at this point. They’re very new. They’re still getting up to speed. And I think, again, the increase in the sales force is something that will pay off next year or the year after. Probably not this year.”

Overall performance

As Roberts mentioned, Credit Acceptance generated a 1-percent year-over-year lift in origination volume during the second quarter. The amount financed grew by a larger amount, 7.1 percent year-over-year.

“Dollar volume grew faster than unit volume during the second quarter of 2017 due to an increase in the average advance paid per unit,” the company said. “This increase was the result of an increase in the average size of the consumer loans assigned primarily due to an increase in the average initial loan term and an increase in purchased loans as a percentage of total unit volume, partially offset by a decrease in the average advance rate due to a decrease in the average initial forecast of the consumer loans assigned.

“While we were able to grow unit volume modestly during the most recent quarter after two quarters of declines, our overall progress in growing unit volumes has slowed considerably over the last six quarters,” Credit Acceptance officials continued. “This trend reflects the difficulty of growing the number of active dealers fast enough to offset the impact of the competitive environment on attrition and per dealer volumes.

“In addition, in response to the decline in forecasted collection rates experienced in 2016, we adjusted our initial collection forecasts downward during 2016. While the adjustments have been modest, we believe these adjustments have had an adverse impact on unit volumes,” the company went on to say.

All told, Credit Acceptance reported that its Q2 consolidated net income came in at $99.1 million, or $5.09 per diluted share, up from $84.9 million, or $4.17 per diluted share, for the same period in 2016.

After seeing the top-line metrics, the investment community pushed Roberts for some clarity on how Credit Acceptance portfolio vintages are performing in an effort to spot future trends.

I think that the clearest number to start with if you're trying to understand loan performance is the net cash flow change for the quarter that’s disclosed,” said Roberts, who noted that the company’s Q2 total net cash flow change was $8.8 million. “It’s a positive number, but it’s obviously a very small one.

“The total undiscounted cash flows that we’re attempting to forecast are somewhere around $5.8 billion,” Roberts continued. “So when you have an $8.8 million move, that’s basically flat.”

After the analyst rephrased the question, Roberts added, “Again, I think the main takeaway is if you’re looking at $5.8 billion in cash flows we’re trying to forecast, if you look at the results for this quarter or really over the last six quarters or even longer than that, the cash flows have been remarkably stable. So I think that's a good thing, and that’s really the main takeaway

CFPB matters

Credit Acceptance stated its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company now is contending with an inquiry from the CFPB along with ongoing actions involving the Federal Trade Commission and Maryland’s attorney general.

“As of June 2017, we were informed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity is investigating whether the company may have violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B,” Credit Acceptance said in its SEC filing.

“We are cooperating with the inquiry and cannot predict the eventual scope, duration or outcome at this time. As a result, we are unable to estimate the reasonably possible loss or range of reasonably possible loss arising from this inquiry,” the company continued.

During the conference call, Wall Street observers asked Roberts to elaborate about what the CFPB inquiry is entailing.

“We don’t have a lot to add to what's in the (filing),” Roberts said. “The CFPB is fairly sensitive regarding disclosures of ongoing matters, so we try carefully to walk the line between our obligations to the SEC and to shareholders and the sensitivities of the CFPB. So I won’t try improve upon what we put in the (filing).”

The filing indicated that the inquiry from the FTC stems from Credit Acceptance allowing dealers to use GPS and starter interrupt devices while Maryland’s attorney general is looking into the company’s repossession and sale policies and procedures within the state.