Chief Executive, 2008 – Present
LendKey and its CEO have been worth watching, as the marketplace lender has created “over 30,000 customer relationships and $725 million in loans for its 300+ clients,” according to the company website. In March, it launched an auto finance-specific platform.
Through a partnership with Truecar, LendKey consumers can utilize an integrated auto buying and lending program, which gives pricing data and the ability to secure pre-approved financing automatically, before visiting a dealership.
“Consumers are increasingly pricing cars online before visiting a dealership and now, for the first time, they will be able to receive quick, transparent and accurate information about auto loans before stepping foot into a dealership,” Passione said at the time of the platform’s launch. “This partnership allows us to combine TrueCar’s upfront pricing with LendKey’s pre-approved financing from our lender clients to make the process of buying a car more seamless for consumers.”
Praxis Finance Corp.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive, 2014 – Present
Praxis Finance, a Grapevine, Texas-based auto finance company co-founded by Daniel Parry in January 2014, is preparing to take the next step for the fledgling company: indirect lending.
“We’re going to start our program as a small pilot in Texas. One of the things that we learned in our prior experience is that fast growth can put a tremendous strain on the company’s infrastructure” Parry told AFN.
Parry was also a founding member of Exeter Finance Corp. in 2006, but left to pursue what he and fellow co-founder and Praxis President Stephen Moses (another Exeter alumnus) believed was “a better way to do auto finance.”
“We felt there was a different way to do auto finance that’s much more robust, that’s much more stable across credit cycles, and that’s what we’re trying to do with this company,” Parry said. “It’s not about chasing volume.”
Santander Consumer USA
Chief Executive, 2015 – Present
Jason Kulas, then the CFO, found himself in the hot seat when Thomas Dundon, a co-founder of the company and a major shareholder, unexpectedly stepped down as chief executive in July. In remarks to analysts, investors and media, Kulas emphasized continuity. He cited his long tenure at the company, his close working relationship with Dundon and the fact that Dundon was sticking around, as a board member.
Things have stayed interesting. In late July, the company was notified that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was referring alleged violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to the U.S. Department of Justice, according to an SEC filing.
The company reported strong second-quarter results. Originations were $7.6 billion, up from $7.4 billion from previous quarter, or $6.7 billion a year ago. Kulas remains optimistic about his new role and does not foresee any drastic changes in company’s strategy.
“Many aspects of the strategy of this business were developed together with Tom and I discussing the business literally every day for a long period of time,” Kulas said during company’s 2Q earnings call. Kulas had served as CFO since 2007.
USAA Federal Savings Bank
Executive Director of Consumer Lending 2014 – Present
Prianka Advani was originally recruited for the home equity segment at USAA. “I don’t know what they saw in me and decided to put me in auto,” she told AFN. “I sincerely appreciate it; I have learned a hell of a lot.”
USAA provides banking and insurance services to military members and their families, customers who often have to move halfway around the world on short notice when they’re on active duty. Military members and retirees are also a high-profile segment for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulators, so serving them is a demanding specialty.
Advani is now focused on further developing a “cool digital process” for auto loan applications. The company wouldn’t say much about it prior to launch. “There is a lot of emotion attached to it,” Advani said. “The loan is just a commodity, but we want to make sure we can provide the best value to the military folks all over the world. We have to cater to them wherever they are.”