DALLAS — Santander Consumer USA is interested in acquiring companies and loan pools in today’s fragmented market, but is not looking to rush the process, Chief Executive Jason Kulas told Auto Finance News.
“We won’t force originations if we don’t think the credit environment is where it needs to be, and we’re not going to force acquisitions just to do them,” he said, citing the company’s 21% year-over-year decline in originations in the first quarter as a commitment to that strategy.
“We’ll see those as they become available and we’ll absolutely be interested in looking at them.” Kulas declined to offer specifics of the companies in interest.
Between 2008 and 2011 when the financial crisis was at its peak, no lender made more acquisitions than Santander, including CitiFinancial Auto Corp. and HSBC’s auto platform, Kulas said.
“We still have those teams and we’re capable of acquiring and converting assets,” he added. However, he’s not convinced companies will fold under the current credit and regulatory environment.
“Companies of all sizes will be able to navigate this process we’re going through,” he said. “But if the ones who fall out, decide they don’t want to commit to it, decide they want to sell, or they have pools of assets to sell, I think we’ll be in the loop.”