After 24 years at Wells Fargo Dealer Services, Executive Vice President Bill Katafias no longer works at the company, a spokeswoman confirmed to Auto Finance News.
“As the company evaluates longer term plans for leading the business, Jerry Bowen, head of Commercial Dealer Services, will assume interim leadership of the Indirect Auto Finance team,” the spokeswoman said.
The departure comes shortly after the January announcement of President Dawn Martin Harp’s exit from Wells Fargo Dealer Services in April, and after the company faced a $24 million consent order for illegal repossession of 413 service member vehicles back in September.
Wells Fargo declined to comment as to the reason for Katafias’ departure.
In his role, Katafias oversaw all aspects of the lender’s business including retail production oversight of regional dealer partners, its centralized direct lending operation, and indirect auto from credit quality to loan originations, his LinkedIn profile stated. He also oversaw the company’s Carmax business relationship, operational risk management of indirect sales, and recreational finance.
His career in auto finance started at Ford Motor Credit in 1988, where he worked for five years in a number of roles, his LinkedIn account notes. In 1993 he joined Westcorp Financial as a branch manager in the Northwest, before the company became WFS Financial in 1998, was acquired by Wachovia in 2006 and eventually merged with Wells Fargo in 2008 under Katafias leadership. He stayed with WFS until 2004 as the Southwest Division Manager of indirect auto, before joining Wells Fargo.
He attended Portland State University where he received his Business Administration degree, and later attended University of Portland for his MBA, according to LinkedIn.
The company reported a 15% year over year drop in auto originations, and a 21% decline from the third quarter, it disclosed in its fourth quarter earnings report. However, the company did originate more auto loans than any other lender in the year through September 2016 according to Experian and CU Direct.
September is the same month the the $24 million consent order came through, including $4.1 million that will serve as $10,000 payments to the 413 affected servicemembers. September was also shortly after Wells Fargo & Company’s flagship banking service was faced with a $185 million fine with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for creating fake checking accounts that hurt consumer credit.
The company’s earnings reports also revealed a 14% increase in delinquencies compared to the same quarter last year, matched by a 23% climb in net charge-offs.