Since its founding in 2006, iLending said it has facilitated $3.6 billion in refinanced auto financing.

But the past 18 months have been challenging for iLending and other institutions that might offer refinancing. However, based on the expectation that the Federal Reserve could trim interest rates later this year, iLending is upbeat about its future.

As the conclusion of 2023 approached, iLending said it engaged in a comprehensive review of the demanding landscape within the auto refinance industry spanning the previous 12-18 months. The company said this introspection centered on identifying pivotal insights and strategic investments aimed at enhancing and fortifying the business for the times ahead.

“iLending strategically positioned itself to endure the challenges faced over the last 18 months.” iLending president Nick Goraczkowski said in a news release. “Despite the obstacles, our dedication remained unwavering to assist those seeking refinancing options, allowing us to continue to help thousands of clients in 2023.

“We actively invested in our business, process and client experience and are now prepared to expand our support further as we expect interest rates eventually to decrease,” Goraczkowski continued.

Goraczkowski pointed out the Federal Reserve has held rates steady since September, plateauing and staying at the current 5.33% rate.

Goraczkowski acknowledged interest rates also put significant strain on credit unions and other financial institutions that support the auto loan refinance market, resulting in a tightening of underwriting criteria, becoming more cautious in their origination practices, leading to stricter eligibility requirements for consumers.

Despite the continued challenges expected in the short term, Goraczkowski said iLending is quite optimistic for the rest of 2024 and the company’s ability to help clients and their families lower monthly car payments.

“We fought our way through a tough 2023 and I’m proud of what we accomplished and still helped a lot of clients and their families.” Goraczkowski said. “We expect rates to come down soon, and we are uniquely positioned to support partners and lenders to ultimately help more and more clients obtain their financial goals with an auto loan refinance.”

And iLending highlighted that it’s not the only shop that’s upbeat about refinancing that sometimes can help consumers save $100 or more on their monthly payments.

Heidi McMillen, director of lender relations at iLending, said many finance companies are approaching 2024 with renewed optimism in growing their auto refinance portfolios.

“It’s been tough on our lenders, but we are all starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with rates,” McMillen said. “Tempered excitement is how I’d define the current sentiment for 2024.”