By on January 25, 2018

Flicker

“We’re dirty, yeah, but so are the dealers. We’re all dirty in this business.”

The petite, honest-faced young lady sitting across from me at my lunch table doesn’t look like a predator. To be fair, she isn’t. She just works for a company that’s one of the biggest subprime lenders in the country, with offices in several states. By the time a dealer calls them for a loan, they’ve already tried every traditional bank and credit union in their Rolodex.

And in exchange for a delicious burrito, she agreed to meet with me and pull back the kimono on the subprime auto lending business in the United States, a business which many in the financial sector believe to be the next big bubble.

I have a lot of questions, and she’s more than willing to answer them. I ask what sorts of credit scores they’ll approve.

“We can pretty much approve any credit score. I just approved a 413 beacon score the other day. Of course, it was a 25 percent loan. Credit is really just one piece of the puzzle,” Elizabeth* (not her real name) explains to me. “Sure, we pull TransUnion and Equifax, but we’re also looking at their obligations versus their verifiable income. Medical bills don’t count. It’s just rent plus whatever else is on their credit report.”

“Sure,” I say. “That makes sense.”

“Of course,” she continues between small bites of burrito, “if they’ve just stopped paying a bill, something other than another car loan, we don’t count that bill as part of their monthly obligations. Nobody pays student loans. They’ll have like five or six loans and won’t have paid a damn dime in months. So we don’t worry about those.”

Hang on. It gets weirder. And better.

(Read More…)

By on April 9, 2015

Carmax

Though CarMax’s lending arm will press forward with its subprime lending test program, it won’t be a major player in the subprime game.

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By on February 11, 2015

Subpime Lending MS Powerpoint Style

Though subprime auto lending is growing, lenders believe a new credit bubble isn’t on the horizon as it was in the runup to the Great Recession.

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By on September 26, 2014

Isis Panopticon Album Cover

In a perverse nexus where connected-vehicle technology, privacy and subprime lending intersect, consumers who fall behind on so much as a single payment, or even stray outside a given teritory, may find their vehicles shutdown by their lender from a digital panopticon.

(Read More…)

By on August 5, 2014

Salesman With Customer

Business is booming on the lot, with the industry on pace to move some 16 million vehicles out onto the highway by the end of 2014. However, some Wall Street insiders are growing bearish with this bull market, blaming easy credit for the surge in demand.

(Read More…)

By on August 5, 2014

GM Financial AmeriCredit

While the parent company goes through the federal ringer over product safety, GM Financial is under the gun after receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding potential deceptive practices in subprime lending.

(Read More…)

By on June 26, 2014

Violet GM RenCen

In today’s General Motors digest: An ignition-related issue is quietly fixed years before the February 2014 recall; a Chinese supplier is blamed for defective switches recalled in June; Ally prepares to take flight from the Beltway; and Mark Reuss helps bring back a Corvette stolen 33 years ago.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2014

President Obama Signs Finance Reform Bill Into Law

The Dodd-Frank Act, created in the wake of the Great Recession as means to curb the practices by financial corporations that led to the Great Recession in the first place, is now being used to go after an automotive lending company in New York for stealing from its customers.

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By on April 10, 2014

01-cadillac-dealership4

As more consumers trade-in their old vehicles for a newer model, a growing number of consumers are owing more on their trade-in than their vehicle’s actual worth.

(Read More…)

By on February 6, 2014

Experian HQ

Just over five years after the Great Recession tightened consumer lending standards on everything from cars to houses, Experian Automotive is forecasting growth in the subprime market for 2014, including longer loan terms and increased delinquencies.

(Read More…)

By on December 20, 2013

Dealer Customer Stock Photo

According to credit reporting bureau TransUnion, auto finance has a bright future ahead in 2014, with easier access to credit and bigger loans for consumers.

(Read More…)

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