Auto Finance Summit East 2024 Show Recap

Auto Finance Summit East 2024 Show Recap Informed

We are just back from the 2024 Auto Finance Summit East (AFS) Conference in Nashville where the team met up with lots of friends and customers, and a few new faces. It was great seeing everyone and attending several informative sessions.

The Opening Session featured Marcelo Bruti, CEO of Hyundai Capitol America in a “fireside chat” with show organizer JJ Hornblass. In discussing industry trends, Brutti highlighted the rapid adoption of technology in the auto finance industry, emphasizing a 37% increase in auto loans originated through electronic contracts year-over-year. He also mentioned the strategic need for technology integration in every aspect of auto financing as crucial for enhancing operational efficiency and managing growth.

Bruti shared that HCA’s focus on innovation, particularly in electronic funding and auto decisioning, aims to reduce the need for manual processes and improve efficiency and compliance. And he highlighted the use of AI in operations, citing ongoing research into improving auto decisioning beyond traditional methods to potentially include AI-driven strategies.

Finally he shared his conservative economic outlook, particularly on interest rates. Bruti was less optimistic on rate cuts than other major lenders and his own treasury team. His stance is influenced by the resilience of the U.S. economy and historical inflation challenges in other countries.

We also sat in on three panel discussions. The first was the: CIO/CTO Panel: The new age of digitalization in auto finance. The panelists were Matt Dundas of Carvana,, Andrew Flegg of Alfa, Chitra Herle of GM Financial, and Pat Rinaldo of Ally Financial.

Starting with the role of AI and digitization, each panelist emphasized the transformative role of AI and digitization in enhancing operational efficiency, customer experience, and revenue generation. The discussion highlighted the specific applications of AI technologies such as automated decision-making, document processing, and customer interaction enhancements.

Moving on to digital strategies and impact: 

  • Matt highlighted the use of new AI technologies in improving the digital customer experience at Carvana, particularly in handling essential documents like pay stubs. He explained that when customers upload documents required for the car buying process, the AI technology is capable of immediately analyzing these documents to verify their accuracy and relevance. 
  • Andrew stressed the importance of technology in enabling seamless integration and functionality for diverse clients, from small startups to large captives.
  • Chitra outlined GMF’s approach to leveraging technology for product innovation and superior customer service, emphasizing a cloud-first strategy. 
  • Pat highlighted the focus on improving customer and dealer experiences through technology, supporting Ally’s relationship-driven business model.

The second panel, “Looking beyond Credit Scores – How to Increase Underwriting Efficiency,” featured Teri Robinson of CPS, Amitay Kalmar of Lendbuzz, and Landon Starr of Arivo Acceptance. The panelists shared organizational structures and priorities along with their auto decisioning rates. They talked about risk, alternative data and finding the right balance between automation and human intuition. Teri cited some of the benefits of automation at CPS saying they were seeing faster funding and fewer mistakes without needing to hire more staff or approve overtime.

The third panel featured Curtis Ash of Avid Acceptance, Tim Owens of Bank of America, Betty Jotanovic of Santandar/Chrysler Capital, and Andew Stuart of TD Auto. They were asked to weigh in on survey results, sharing their opinions on 2024 profitability, origination volume this year compared to last, how delinquencies and charge off rates will change and where they will spend the most this year. There were lively debates on these questions with little consensus among the panelists and with the other survey respondents, making for a spirited discussion.

The Luncheon speaker on Thursday was Michelle Corson, Founder & CEO of On the Road Companies who shared her mission of bringing prosperity to low-income consumers through affordable car loans. She talked about looking beyond credit scores and the life changing impact that owning a vehicle can have on a family.

The final speaker we heard from was Leslie Wims Morris, President of Private Label Captive Finance at Chase Auto who said that the, “Weather looks good for auto in 2024.” She is seeing supply chains start to normalize, unit sales increasing and inventory being rebalanced, noting that growth levels that support the auto business are back faster than expected. She shared that 80M US households have some kind of Chase account, giving them a great customer base and by meeting customers in the channels where they are, enables Chase to provide tailored offers.

All in all, it was a productive, action-packed week in Nashville. We’re looking forward to continuing the conversations we kicked off at the event. Reach out if you’d like to chat!

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