British politeness extends to how vehicles are repossessed in the U.K., says Roger Gewolb, an American who heads a Britain-based lending firm, Park Finance Holdings.
“We have a police cruiser nearby when we repossess cars, but a huge number of people miraculously go in the house and come out with the money so they can keep the car,” he says at a recent Auto Finance Summit.
“All British people are polite, even if the cars we get back sometimes have holes in them,” he says.
Still, he wonders how some Britons — considering their poor credit histories (and sometimes criminal histories) — manage to get car loans.
Some U.K. subprime lenders give auto loans “to people you wouldn't want to ride in a car with, let alone lend money to buy a car,” he says.
His firm takes a relatively patient but tough approach with deadbeats.
“We try to keep customers in cars as long as possible,” Gewolb says. “We get on the phone and tell them they should fool with someone else because they need their car to get to work.”