Salt Lake City-based subprime lender Prestige Financial Services announced back in September it would join the pipeline of direct lenders, allowing its customers to refinance their vehicles directly. Today, about two months in, direct-to-consumer lending is still in its “infancy” at Prestige, according to Rich Hyde, the company’s chief operating officer.
The company has issued 200 direct loans since it began testing the direct environment about a year ago. That’s compared with roughly 2,000 indirect auto loans issued monthly. As the company drives to make direct-to-consumer loans a “prominent part of the business,” the lender’s primary focus looking into 2016 is to adopt technology for online approvals, as well as marketing and advertising through different channels, including social media.
For the November issue of Auto Finance News magazine, we interviewed Hyde during his recent visit to New York City.
Auto Finance News: Where do you start the direct-to-consumer integration process?
Rich Hyde: We have never really needed to be very publicly open before, because we were doing indirect business. The only people that would interact with us were customers that would go through a dealership. So we are redoing our website to get a little more presence out there. It will work for both direct and indirect customers, but more focused towards direct customers. The website is in the works right now, and will be further updated.
AFN: What would be the new customer component?
RH: We’ll add more content about improving your credit score, with videos and educational articles. A lot more digital content and exposure. One of the things we haven’t done in the past, and it hasn’t been our “bread and butter,” is social media. We haven’t taken a proactive approach to do much there in the past. Part of why we are entering the social media market, is because it’s a trend of the millennial generation, and they’re going to be the big car buyers in the next 10 or 15 years.