The qualities that characterized an outstanding auto finance executive a year ago are not necessarily the qualities that auto finance executives need to successfully navigate the pandemic. Visionary auto lending executives are focusing on ways to accommodate the changing expectations of dealers and consumers regarding vehicle loans, leases and purchases.
More than 90% of consumers begin their car-buying journey with online research. Online loans, leases and auto purchases, as well as deliveries, are natural extensions of the online research trend. Consumers expect online payment estimates and financing, and dealers request digital shopping and financing. From initial vehicle research to loan or lease origination, and even throughout the servicing phase, a growing number of consumers expect a digital car-buying and financing experience.
In response, executives are investing in lending platforms that facilitate a completely digital experience. Cloud-based lending platforms streamline the lending process, provide a better customer experience and reduce operational costs for lenders. The digital lending experience features:
- Loan and lease submissions via mobile devices for anytime, anywhere convenience;
- The ability to digitally capture supporting documentation and stipulations;
- Integration with dealer inventory systems for a seamless purchasing process; and
- E-contracts and e-signatures for easy review and acceptance
Cloud-based lending platforms help accelerate lending decisions with automation capabilities and integration with cloud-based lending services that reduce risk. Workflow, decision rules, machine learning and auto structuring enable lenders to review and approve qualified applicants without the assistance of an underwriter. In the best cases, decisions can be reached in seconds, significantly boosting the chances of closing a deal.
Cloud-based lending platforms make it easier for lenders to incorporate innovative services. Pre-integrated services, such as fraud analysis, consumer data sources and risk models provided by an ecosystem of partners can help lenders customize platforms to better handle evolving lending needs.
Savvy auto finance executives also recognize the benefits of digital loan or lease servicing for lenders and consumers. Mobile servicing capabilities give consumers greater control, allowing them to set up automatic payments, make one-time payments, calculate pay-off amount and receive answers to FAQs. Lenders will benefit from reduced call center demands and more time to address inquiries that require an experienced servicing agent.
Of course, successfully responding to the changing demands of the auto finance industry requires more than an investment in technology. Both the company culture and tremendous personal challenges employees have already experienced this year must also be taken into consideration.
Shaimaa Elk serves as executive vice president, chief information officer, and chief technology officer, and is responsible for all elements of product and technology development at defi SOLUTIONS, the technology partner of Auto Finance Excellence, a sister service of Auto Finance News.