5 Questions With… Daniel Chu of Tricolor

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Daniel Chu, CEO, Tricolor Auto Group

Five Questions With is a monthly Q&A segment on AutoFinanceExcellence.org that offers a glimpse of what senior industry executives are thinking about outside the boardroom. Read on to find out.

Having founded six companies over the past 25 years — including two which have gone public — Daniel Chu considers himself a serial entrepreneur.

Now, as founder and chief executive of both Tricolor Auto Group and Ganas Auto Group, he’s at the helm of one of the nation’s largest used-vehicle retailers focusing on the sale and financing of vehicles to Hispanic consumers. The Dallas-based lender leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning throughout the company’s operations, from underwriting to call centers and reconditioning centers, which service the vehicles coming through Ganas dealerships.

Despite Chu’s experience in the auto industry, which dates back to 1992 when he was president of PAACO Automotive Group, he said moments from his basketball career — both playing and coaching — have had some of the biggest influences on his career.

Auto Finance Excellence asked Chu five questions to find out what his company goals are, advice that helped him succeed in an ever-changing industry, and a surprising fact that his colleagues would never suspect.

AFE: What are your company goals in 10 words or less? 

Daniel Chu: Leverage technology to deliver a disruptive value proposition for our target consumer.

AFE: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice you’ve ever received? 

DC: I have two that go hand-in-hand:

First, with every challenge comes an opportunity.  Setbacks and obstacles are part of the process for an executive and an entrepreneur, and successful leaders navigate through the challenges with a positive mindset that gives rise to great energy and confidence within their team.

Second, everything you want is on the other side of fear.  This is true in all dimensions of life, both professional and personal; it’s manifested in many forms — ego, arrogance, insecurity, indecisiveness, and so on. It really is the biggest root driver of human behavior, in my opinion. I only wish I was able to get my head around the power behind that realization 20 years ago.

AFE: What do you think is the most underrated trend in lending practices? 

DC: It seems like everyone now is experimenting with artificial intelligence and machine learning, but as far as underrated, I think about how the access we now have to valuable alternative data has become game-changing.  Combined with the application of machine learning, the importance of the traditional Fico score may eventually become marginalized.

AFE: What person has had the biggest influence on your career? 

DC: A role model from my coaching past, George Raveling. He’s a bold pioneer, real innovator, and forward-leaning thinker, as a coach and then as a Nike exec. He’s now in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s been an inspiration to embrace a continuous improvement mindset. “When you stop learning, you stop living,” is something he used to say.

AFE: What’s something all of your employees would be surprised to learn about you? 

DC: I was a (well) below average student. I also played basketball in college.

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