Commerce Bank Shifts Focus to Niche Markets, Smaller Dealerships

Gear ShiftLAS VEGAS — Commerce Bank is looking at smaller niches in the market to offset a declining SAAR, Indirect Lending Manager Robert Griffin told attendees at the 2016 Auto Finance Summit.

“One of the things we have done is really focus on the smaller dealerships,” Griffin said. “I’ve seen a lot of the larger lenders pull out of the smaller dealerships who can drive the volume that [lenders] need, so it’s really created a void.”

For that reason, Commerce Bank has focused on pursuing those partnerships, he said. “We are balancing our push with our franchise and larger groups, with the credence of value with our smaller dealerships, to fill the needs that they [smaller dealers] have.”

Additionally, Commerce Bank has increased its product mix, by buying more heavily in the powersports space, Griffin added. The bank’s motorcycle business has grown “quite a bit over the last 12 to 18 months,” he said, adding that the new business is a nice cushion to offset auto sales “if it does flatline over the next couple years.”

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