Toyota Finance New Zealand (TFNZ) has partnered with Ephesoft, an AI-powered data capturing platform, to help streamline and automate its loan-application processes, Ephesoft’s Founder and Chief Executive Ike Kavas told Auto Finance News.
Ephesoft’s platform essentially “reads” PDF documents, pulls out necessary information and verifies it against existing databases, Kavas said. “When a company is trying to approve loans, they get a lot of documents and they’re always in PDF format. Even if you use DocuSign to sign them, there’s still somebody that needs to look at those PDF files and understand what’s going on,” he added, explaining that the software will look at tax statements, overdraft charges, dates and addresses, and connect them with credit bureau data and address-verification systems.
Kavas attributes the partnership — inked during a three-month sales cycle — to the company’s implementation timeline. “We have a software system that can be implemented in a few weeks rather than months or years,” he said, noting that TFNZ’s onboarding should only take four to six weeks.
TFNZ will use the new software to speed up decisioning time on incoming retail installment contracts so the lender “can make decisions within minutes,” Kavas explained. “It’s an initiative to improve customer satisfaction through back-office automation.”
The captive’s New Zealand arm has a managed portfolio of less than NZ$1 billion, or approximately $660 million, Stephen Blay, general manager of operations at TFNZ, told AFN. It lends primarily to prime consumers through its franchised Toyota and Lexus dealerships.
The New Zealand auto market differs from the U.S. market in that there is less focus on leasing when compared with financing toward ownership, Blay said. “The New Zealand market is completely open to imports, so there is a significant number of used-vehicle imports traded in NZ, which typically come from Japan, South Africa or the U.K.,” he explained. “In NZ, consumers typically finance on ownership products and the leasing is predominately done via corporations.”
Ephesoft is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has field offices in Sydney, Singapore, Germany, France and the U.K. The tech company also is partnered with New Zealand-based auto financier Motor Trade Finance (MTF), which processes nearly 4,000 contracts per month. Ephesoft automates about 75% of MTF’s contracts, Kavas said.
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