Santander Consumer USA (SC) is focused on bolstering its relationship with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), following the addition of Rich Morrin as president of Chrysler Capital and auto relationships.
The subprime lender continued its executive-level shakeup in early October 2017 with the appointment of a new chief financial officer, a head of operations, and president of Chrysler Capital under the leadership of Chief Executive Scott Powell, who took over as company lead in late August.
“FCA is a very important relationship for SC, and the team and I are focused on identifying opportunities to assist FCA in selling more vehicles and to utilize incentive spending more efficiently,” Morrin told Auto Finance News.
Previously, Morrin served as SC’s chief operating officer. Separately, Jan Carlos Alvarez succeeded former Chief Financial Officer Ismail Dawood, who left to pursue other opportunities, according to a company press release.
Additionally, Sandra Broderick joined SC as executive vice president and head of operations in October. Morrin’s role will now be split in two, with Morrin controlling front-end operations — particularly SC’s relationship with FCA — and Broderick taking on back-end operations across originations, servicing, and collections, a SC spokeswoman told AFN.
Broderick joined U.S. Bank for a brief stint as EVP in March, and prior to that spent 15 years with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Since 2012, she has served as head of operations for Chase Auto Finance and brings more than 30 years of experience in the auto industry, including senior positions at Bank One, GE Capital, and HSBC. Morrin and Broderick will work closely together and be responsible for many of the high-priority initiatives the company has highlighted this year, including the lender’s relationship with Chrysler Capital, dealer oversight, and RoadLoans.com.
Santander’s lease portfolio overall has been steadily growing since the lender signed on as FCA’s preferred lender in 2013. Outstanding leases grew to $11.5 billion during the nine-month period ending in September, compared with $11.3 billion the same period the year prior, according to an analysis by S&P Global.
“Our relationship with Chrysler is a key part of our business and our strategy,” a spokeswoman told AFN. “Rich’s new role, with its focus on Chrysler, underscores that.”
AFN spoke with Morrin about SC’s strategy, the lender’s goals surrounding FCA, and priorities in 2018. Following are edited excerpts from the interview:
AFN: How will Santander’s strategy change, if at all, under your leadership?
Rich Morrin: My new role will allow me to focus on several critically important areas in our business. For starters, we have significant work to do with respect to dealer engagement. We must improve our internal processes to make it easier for dealers to do business with us. In addition to consumers who drive the vehicles we finance, dealers are critical customers for SC and we need to treat them that way. We are working hard to transform the way we operate so that we give all customers exceptional service, and ensure we are operating in a simple, personal, and fair manner at all times.
AFN: There’s been a great emphasis placed on the company’s relationship with FCA. What are your goals surrounding that account?
RM: We must demonstrate our value to FCA. FCA is a very important relationship for SC, and the team and I are focused on identifying opportunities to assist FCA in selling more vehicles and to utilize incentive spending more efficiently. In addition to strengthening our relationship with FCA, we are focused on results. We need to demonstrate that we can grow our origination volumes through the FCA channel, and we intend to do just that.
AFN: Where do you expect FCA originations to be this time next year?
RM: Assuming the auto market remains strong and with continued low unemployment and an overall healthy consumer credit profile, we expect to materially increase FCA originations during 2018.
AFN: With 2017 coming to a close, what are your top three priorities for 2018?
RM: The top priorities center around our customers, strategic relationships, and employees. We are working on a number of initiatives that are critical for our success during 2018 and each of those initiatives touches one or more of those three key stakeholders.