Monday, Jun. 25, 2007, 08:00 PM UPDATED 11:59 AMBy Nick Zulovich
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — By taking advantage of RouteOne's ability to process consumer finance applications through both captives and non-captives, special finance dealers working on the franchise side can better grow their subprime business, company executives reported.
"The unification of the dealer body's finance sources on one platform — from captive to subprime — has been our goal, and we believe we're finally approaching that milestone. Our dealers have been very vocal on the subject, and we're very pleased with the progress we've made," Brad Rogers, RouteOne's vice president for sales and marketing, explained to SubPrime Auto Finance News.
Executives explained that if a consumer's application is turned down via the platform by a captive, then a dealer can send the application on to a non-captive that works lower in the credit spectrum without needing to re-enter all the information.
"What really makes RouteOne relevant to the subprime space is the presence of the top four captive lenders," said Rogers. "Today, we process 100 percent of all indirect finance business on behalf of Ford Credit, Chrysler Financial, GMAC, Toyota Financial Services and the affiliates of each. For these franchises, that represents a significant portion of business."
In fact, according to Rogers, captive providers can account for anywhere from 30 percent or more of a dealer's business.
"That also represents a significant opportunity for the subprime office to convert declines from the captive to approvals from one of our many subprime finance source customers without re-keying the data," he continued. "All the dealer needs to do is resubmit the application to the subprime finance source of their choice."
He went on to point out that RouteOne is close to hitting the 200-lender milestone. The platform covers the entire spectrum of credit levels from super prime to deep subprime, including both national and regional lenders.
"At a national level, we currently have AmeriCredit, Capital One, Chase Custom, CitiFinancial and HSBC to name a few," Rogers noted. "It's a bit more difficult to cast a finance source as subprime at the local market level because they work with their local dealers across a pretty broad credit spectrum. For a full list of lenders affiliated with RouteOne, dealers may visit ."
Moreover, the executive highlighted the ability for dealers to use the platform to electronically interact with their manufacturer and captive for a variety of services, including vehicle and parts ordering to warranty maintenance.
Now Serving Independent Dealers
Although the company primary works with franchised dealers — more than 20,000 active dealer IDs in the U.S. and more than 2,100 active dealer IDs in the Canadian market — Rogers said the company is branching out to include independent dealers.
"While RouteOne's focus is on the franchised dealer community, we are available to independent dealers as well," he explained. "To that end, we are very excited to have teamed up with premier providers who focus on the independent dealer community, namely AppOne and Finance Express. This enables us to offer a single point of integration to our finance source customers that allows them to operate in both spaces on platforms specifically built for each type.
Continuing on, Rogers said, "Our integration with AppOne is currently live and in use by AmeriCredit, and we're on the cusp of going live with Finance Express. These alliances clearly bring value to the independent dealer community by paving the way for more finance sources to not only gain comfort in doing business with independent dealers by virtue of the risk mitigation protocols that both our alliance partners employ, but also enable our finance source customers to enter the space with minimal IT effort."
Basic Overview of How Platform Works
As one may suspect, a dealer kicks off the application process by pulling a credit bureau report. This can either be done through an outside source or via RouteOne.
"Depending on the selection of finance sources — we only allow a maximum of four for a given transmission — certain data fields will be highlighted as ‘required' for data entry. The objective of this application is to minimize the data entry effort for the dealer," Rogers pointed out.
When finished filling out all required fields, a dealer simply clicks submit.
"Once there (at the lender), the finance source evaluates the deal and returns a decision through RouteOne, which we then display to the dealer," he added. "The decision returned by the finance sources contain terms of the decision and any reasons, stipulations or comments the credit analyst may add to the deal. If the dealer is unable to obtain an approval, the deal can be reworked or rehashed online, or additional lenders may be selected."
Dealers can stay up-to-date on the status of each deal thanks to the platform. According to Rogers, there are a number of statuses for deal tracking, which range from contract received to contract funded.
"This functionality enables the dealer to effectively manage cash flow by spotting and addressing problems with held offerings that can delay the funding of a deal," he noted.
In addition to providing dealers the ability to look up consumer credit reports, RouteOne said it also provides a valuation tool for used vehicles.
"We offer the dealer a service that accurately values the vehicle using the NADA guide, including adjustments for mileage and options," Rogers said. "Proper systematic valuation such as this is critical to the buying process on the finance source side and helps ensure adherence to the finance source's buying policies.
"Strong adherence to the buying policy is essential to achieving expected portfolio performance and ultimately healthy relationships with the dealer body," he continued. "For this reason, we offer the service to our finance source partners as well, enabling a 100-percent book-out of all used vehicles through the RouteOne platform."
Moreover, Rogers pointed out that RouteOne also works closely with DMS providers.
"This integration not only enables a very seamless transfer of data between the DMS system and RouteOne, but also allows our platform to produce value-added reporting to the dealer, which includes the production of a complete F&I log on a daily basis," he explained.
Talking about future growth, Rogers said, "We continue to pick up momentum, and our dealers are becoming more vocal regarding their desire to utilize one platform to process all of their business. It's been unprecedented to have the captive lender community invite the non-captive lender community to play on the same field, and we think there is extraordinary opportunity associated with that for both sides.
"In order for us to continue our growth, those opportunities have to become evident," he continued. "Our lender advisory council is comprised solely of non-captive finance sources and is chartered with keeping us on track to account for the needs of the non-captive community, although more often than not the needs are ubiquitous to all lenders and to our dealers."