RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. — Finance Express, which provides Web-based financial services and technology to independent dealers, announced that Universal Special Auto Finance and Financial Institution Lending Options have joined its platform.

"The strength of Universal Special Auto Finance rests on the strength of our business partners," said John Scordo, executive vice president of business development for Universal Special Auto Finance.

"We are pleased that through Finance Express, we will add to the strength of our company and be able to meet the unique needs of the independent dealer community," he added.

David Huber, president of Finance Express, noted, "Our goal is and always has been to serve the independent dealer in all aspects of their business. That includes tools and technology to meet dealer management requirements, forms and compliance, lead generation, accounting and, of course, connectivity to a broad array of financial sources.

"Our lending partners, such as Universal, have given Finance Express the ultimate vote of confidence," he continued.

Financial Institution Lending Options has also joined the Finance Express platform. FILO specializes in providing special-finance funding to dealers in Wisconsin.

"We are pleased to be joining Finance Express to expand our dealer base and grow our company with independent used-car dealers. Because Finance Express has created a secure environment with Escrow.com and all the risk mitigation tools they deploy, we believe we can now grow with dealers we otherwise could not have," explained Gerald Briggs, vice president of FILO.

"FILO has grown to be one of the leading indirect lenders in Wisconsin, and we now can safely offer our services through Finance Express to a larger group of dealers," he mentioned.

Huber added, "As we have grown the last couple of years, we have worked very hard to add national and regional lenders to the Finance Express platform. We are just as excited to now be adding local lenders like FILO to the FEX program, as they provide a valuable product and service to dealers in their state."

Finance Express Becomes NIADA Preferred Provider

In other recent news, the National Independent Auto Dealers Association announced it has selected Finance Express to become the latest member of its Preferred Provider program.

Through this designation, Finance Express now has access to the association's 20,000 dealer members.

"We perform a comprehensive analysis of vendors on behalf of our dealers," explained Mike Linn, NIADA executive vice president and chief executive officer. "Our dealers trust and know that when we put forth a company, such as Finance Express, that it's a solid company that will help them better their dealership."

Huber pointed out, "Finance Express is about creating a level playing field for used-car dealers by providing them all the tools that have previously only been available to franchised dealers. Becoming a Preferred Provider validates the fact that Finance Express gives independent dealers the ability to aggressively compete in this tough market."

NIADA noted that Finance Express is currently one of only 18 companies who have met the association's criteria to become a Preferred Provider.