Wells Fargo Faces Competition as It Pushes for Volume

Via Ron Cogswell/ Flicker

Wells Fargo & Co.’s renewed push into the auto finance space is likely driven by a desire to fund higher yielding loans in a rising interest rate environment, one dealer told Auto Finance News.

Wells Fargo Chief Executive Tim Sloan announced the bank’s intentions in the space earlier this month. “We’ve pulled back enough, and now we’re going to be growing that business again,” Sloan said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Saif Kadri, sales manager of Carson Nissan, believes Sloan’s decision is sparked by rising interest rates and a desire to compete with lenders whose subprime portfolios have begun to outpace Wells Fargo’s. “You make the most interest from people with bad credit,” Kadri said. “So [Wells Fargo Auto] wants to go back to that.”

Although a more aggressive Wells Fargo “gives us another avenue” to fund, Kadri said, the Carson, Calif., dealership most often finances with Nissan Infiniti Financial Services, Capital One Auto Finance, Chase Auto Finance, and Ally Financial.

Wells Fargo Auto plans to increase automation and improve pricing transparency while operating within the enterprise tolerance for risk in its steps to transform operations, said Mary Mack, the bank’s senior executive vice president of community banking and consumer lending, during a May 10 Investor Day presentation. Additionally, Wells Fargo is looking at a wide set of aftermarket products to “improve processes for our consumer and dealer customers,” a spokeswoman said in a published article.

Wells Fargo financed 47,839 vehicles in April, down 11% from volume in April 2017, according to Experian AutoCount data. Additionally, first-quarter auto originations were $4.4 billion, a 20% year-over-year decline.

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As Associate Editor of Auto Finance News, Nicole Casperson reports on the latest news, trends, and innovations impacting the auto finance space. Nicole is an experienced business reporter from Texas, and she previously specialized covering the housing and mortgage industry. Nicole received her Master of Arts in Mass Communication and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism both from the College of Media & Communication, Texas Tech University.