In taking on her new job as vice president for client services, World Omni's rising star Lisa Wheeler is nothing if not ambitious as she solicits banks and credit unions for loan servicing business.
"We'd like to sign up enough banks the first year to provide between 300,000 and 400,000 retail customer accounts," says the 39-year-old CEO of World Omni's new CenterOne Financial Services division. "Our reaction from the banks so far has been most positive."
Ms. Wheeler, who joined World Omni and its parent, JM Family Enterprises, in 1992, agrees with her boss, World Omni financial services president Louis Feagles, that the time is "right" to go after banks for third- party loan servicing.
She says, "Banks, independent lenders and credit unions are always looking at ways to increase their product offerings, but collections are not their forte. Nor are they so good at remarketing vehicles, lacking the infrastructure for it.
"CenterOne is geared up with the World Omni organization to accomplish these necessary full-service functions on a nationwide basis. Reaching a 300,000-account goal this year is asking a lot, but it's time for the banks to out-source and we intend to lead in this market."
A Furman University graduate, Ms. Wheeler previously served as World Omni's assistant vice-president for business systems and client relations. World Omni and JM Family Services are based in Deerfield Beach, FL.
Banks now outsource most of their mortgage and credit card business already, says Mr. Feagles. New accounts for CenterOne will be serviced from World Omni centers in Mobile, Ala., and St. Louis.
Sonic Automotive and its national preferred retail lender, Chase Manhattan Bank, have begun a pilot program at 16 Sonic dealerships to conduct F&I business on the Chase dealer website.
With approximately 9,000 dealer accounts nationwide and $23 billion in auto receivables, Chase "will enable our dealerships to tran-sform the entire credit process to an e-commerce model," says B. Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of the Charlotte, NC-based megadealer.
With 106 dealerships and 172 franchises, Sonic has become the second largest megadealer in number of outlets and expects to reach an annualized "run rate" of close to $6 billion this year.
"By minimizing many of the manual processes in the traditional F&I sales model," Mr. Smith says, "we are positioning Sonic to support the processes and expectations of the Internet consumer."
Chase Manhattan has assets in excess of $400 billion, with approximately 32 million customers. Its new business website iswww.chase.com.
J&L Warranty Pros of Auburn Hills, MI, is now the only source for General Motors Corp.'s hands-on warranty administration training.
The Sandy Corp. will no longer conduct GM's on-site warranty training.
J&L is stepping up its program to include in-house training, on-site training and on-the-road training for the GM training.
"Although the IDL (Interactive Distance Learning) program will benefit the dealer, I feel you just can't beat the hands-on personal type of training," says Jay Weaver, J&L's director of operations.
He adds, "We believe hands-on training is the best way to train someone when it comes to warranty. There are so many changes and gray areas to keep up with."