Westlake Plans Expansion Into Canada, Puts Used-Leasing on Backburner

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Westlake Financial Services is “aggressively looking to grow” its business into Ontario, Canada, in the third or fourth quarter, Group President Ian Anderson told Auto Finance News.

Westlake will begin by making itself available to dealers through Dealertrack, as well as by sending physical representatives to dealerships to introduce the lender to the market. “We are going to start small,” Anderson said, adding that “as things progress, [we will] push harder.”

Westlake has delayed development of a used-vehicle leasing program in favor of the expansion into Canada. “We’re still designing the [used-leasing]program,” he said, noting that the launch will be pushed back to at least 2019. AFN first reported the development of the program in June 2017 after Westlake acquired Credit Union Leasing of America, which uses proprietary technology to originate lease contracts on behalf of credit union partners.

Other business initiatives superseding the used-car-leasing program include portfolio growth through new division Westlake Portfolio Management. The unit has acquired four portfolios since 2014, most recently Pelican Auto Finance LLC’s portfolio in March.

“Overtime, as we’ve grown our portfolio, we’ve poured a ton of money into our servicing,” he said. “We’ve used technology to service our portfolio, and we’ve created scale,and more than anything, we have been able to service [contracts] at a cost point that is lower than what our competition is able to do.”

Westlake grew its total outstandings 23.6% to $3.9 billion in 2017, according to Big Wheels Auto Finance Data 2018.

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