Westlake’s latest investments in technology, training

Pictured here are mentors of the Westlake Financial Certification Program. (Photo courtesy of company)

As Westlake Financial Services broadened its employee training program, the finance company also recently agreed to use Equifax’s dealer intelligence platform, TradeSight, to manage and monitor its dealer relationships.

TradeSight can help finance companies analyze originations, current and future dealer partners and performance of the installment contracts booked through dealer partners. The tool works by combining Equifax consumer credit information with dealer and vehicle data from third-party data sources to enable Westlake and other auto finance companies to assess their dealer network and establish peer benchmarks to help evaluate dealers credit risk.

“We’re happy to use this new product to help us drive well-informed business decisions and develop and adjust strategies so we can more accurately understand the performance and behavior of our dealership network,” said Ian Anderson, group president of Westlake Financial.

“Since TradeSight comes with detailed loan-level data and four years of history, Westlake was able to benchmark ourselves against our various competitors and adjust our go-to-market strategy as a result,” Anderson continued.

Equifax delivers a powerful combination of data via TradeSight, including dealership names, firmagraphic information, purchased vehicle details and vehicle values and contract structure characteristics, including annual percentage rate, term, loan-to-value and loan performance metrics.

Additionally, the product provides pre-configured categories such as bank, captive, credit union, independent auto finance companies, buy-here, pay-here information and more.

Equifax also mentioned that TradeSight differs from other products in the marketplace in that it can merge all of the data into a single platform, which can be used by auto finance companies to monitor market share, contract structure, vehicles purchased, the selling dealership and how the paper performs.

“By providing comprehensive analytics from a single platform, TradeSight will help Westlake Financial continue to compete at a high level and establish even stronger relationships with dealers in order to profitably grow their portfolio,” said Lou Loquasto, vice president of auto finance and dealer vertical at Equifax.

Westlake programs for employee development

In other company news, Westlake recently launched another chapter of what it’s dubbed the Westlake Certification Program for employees interested in expanding their skill-set for potential career advancement.

Westlake’s certification curriculum consists of four levels that participants must complete in order to receive certification. Over nine months, weekly classes cover data tools, communication, culture and environment, and leadership. Each class is led by a Westlake Financial Services subject matter expert on the topic and is usually a manager, director or executive.

Also, individual participants are paired with a mentor within the organization who dedicates a minimum of four hours per month to assist the participant in completing individual and group assignments, presentations and homework throughout the program.

“This program was designed to provide employees opportunities for growth, one of Westlake’s core values. An on-site learning opportunity to help employees advance their skills is just one of the many advantages of working at Westlake,” said Erika Angel, Westlake’s associate vice president of human resources.

“The curriculum will enhance and build skills while at the same time providing a launching ground for future Westlake leaders to learn the arts of business decision-making, communication, team building and implementation planning,” added Robert Engilman, Westlake’s senior vice president and chief compliance officer.

Westlake’s Certification Program is designed and overseen by Westlake’s corporate training and development department, as well as a council of five leaders in the organization.

“One of the company goals for 2017 was to offer employees a program emphasizing leadership development, so we revamped the existing Westlake University Program to include elements of culture, environment, and effective communication,” corporate trainer Dennise Carrera said.

“It then evolved into its own certification program promoting ethical behavior, organizational change management, leadership development, and self-improvement,” added Claudia Corleto, manager of corporate training.

This year’s program commenced in March with the first group of 19 participants on track to receive certification in December of this year.

“We recognize the high level of effort required to complete this program. Dedication to professional growth, as well as juggling responsibilities of full-time positions and life outside of work are paramount to successful completion. We have a congratulatory luncheon when participants complete each level, and we reward top performers in the program,” said Bret Hankey, executive chairman of Westlake Financial.

The council will begin accepting internal employee applications via Westlake Intranet for the 2018 Certification Program in the first quarter of 2018.

As a separate program, the company provides Westlake University to all Westlake employees as another opportunity for learning. In the Westlake University program, employees can advance their skills in public speaking, Excel and SQL.

Employees are encouraged to sign up for these classes via an email sent by corporate training each month.