First Tech CU Targets Growth in Near-Prime

First Tech Credit Union is expanding down the spectrum to gain marketshare amid signs of a “sluggish” auto finance market, Vice President of Indirect Lending Aaron Rehfield told Auto Finance News.

“We take a very disciplined, slow, and measured approach,” Rehfield said. “[We are] making small changes based on data and then letting it ride, because you’re going to need to bake in a certain amount of time to really experience and understand that book of business.”

The Palo Alto-based credit union is looking to grow by emphasizing quick turn times on underwriting and funding. It does that, in part, through auto decisioning as well as having underwriting offices open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, he said.

“We’re going to continue to experience a sluggish market over the next few years,” Rehfield said. “The counter to that — and one of the strategies that we’ve always used and continue to improve upon — is our service levels, which help us gain marketshare, help us serve the dealerships, and ultimately capture more loans.”

First Tech held $1.6 billion in total outstandings at yearend 2016, according to Big Wheels Auto Finance 2017. The credit union originated $915 million last year, up 16.8% from 2015.

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