Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ focus on ushering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and new mobility fronts has buoyed loan and lease originations this year, Vice President of Credit Operations Chris Kaefer told Auto Finance News.
The captive leapfrogged competitor BMW Financial Services, increasing originations 34.6% to $17.1 billion in 2018, according to Big Wheels Auto Finance data. Comparatively, BMWFS originations declined 8.2% to $16.7 billion.
As for credit underwriting and continuing the drive for origination growth in 2019, Kaefer is focusing on digitization. “People want to obtain credit easier, faster, with less paper in the end,” he said. “We are heavily investing in that — that will be the future.”
To that end, the captive opened the doors to its new 200,000-square-foot national business operations center in Forth Worth, Texas, in May after announcing plans to construct the new center in late 2017. From facial recognition to nap pods, the facility is already enhancing a culture of innovation, Kaefer said. “It’s an environment that typically tech companies have,” he said.
Meanwhile, a focus on mobility as a service has driven growth for MBFS as it partners with brands outside its own. The captive’s parent, Daimler AG, partnered with BMW Group in a $1.1 billion ride-hailing joint venture earlier this year.
“Our success model is a collaboration between the brand and [its] partners,” Kaefer said, noting that the captive works in an enterprise fashion with OEM Mercedes-Benz, its dealers and the commercial side of the business. “The better we can collaborate, the more successful we trend in the market, and that collaboration has really paid off for us in the last 10 years,” he said.