IRVING, Texas — CitiFinancial Auto has undergone some restructuring of late in response to the ongoing difficult sales environment.

Kim Pulliam, senior vice president at CitiFinancial Auto, told SubPrime Auto Finance News this morning that the company notified dealers of the changes last week. Basically, she explained that the company has moved to a model which separates the buying function and the interface with the dealer.

Overall, the company has centralized its underwriting and loan processing, which did involve some layoffs throughout the country at regional offices. Some of the regional offices that previously handled underwriting and processing have now been converted to buying offices, she explained. While some associates were laid off, in some instances, others were switched from underwriting to buying.

According to Pulliam, dealers should not notice too many changes except for perhaps the localized representative that they work with. They may get a new one as associates were shifted into different positions. Dealers may also see a change in where they are sending contracts.

Most of the changes are taking place behind the scenes, she indicated.

The inspiration behind the moves was, "Let's keep localized functions which the dealers care about and what they need, and take those functions that don't interface with the dealer out of the local marketplace," Pulliam said.

As for its number of dealer partnerships, she told SubPrime Auto Finance News that the company has not made any changes.

"We are committed to those levels," Pulliam pointed out.

However, dealers may have noticed that the company is being more selective in the subprime applications it approves.

When asked about the spectrum of loans generally approved, Pulliam responded, "I wouldn't necessarily say we're doing higher quality, but we are being more selective in the deeper credit. We're being very focused and more safe and sound."

Ultimately, she said the changes are designed to make CitiFinancial Auto "evolve and be stronger."