Dealers starting to demand better online capabilities from lenders, says Startline

04 Feb 2019

Dealers have started demanding better online capabilities from their motor finance providers over the last six months, says Startline Motor Finance

The specialist lender says that being able to offer a comprehensive level of integration has rapidly moved from a nice-to-have factor to almost essential.

Paul Burgess, CEO, explained: “The speed of this development has been really noticeable and is probably indicative of the way in which dealers are quite suddenly taking much more seriously the need to offer motor finance online.

“When talking to dealer groups, especially the larger ones that we tend to work with, being able to show a high level of capability when it comes to integrating with their online systems has progressed to become a must-have.

“If they decide to add you to their lending panel, there will tend to be a push to sign the deal and add you to their range of online motor finance options within a matter of weeks, if not days.”

Part of the impetus for increased level of online used car facilitation came from dealer groups who were actively looking to drive their online presence while new car sales remained sluggish, Paul said.

“We have a number of customers who specialise in the mainstream used car market who are having quite a big drive towards maximising the potential of online sales, often based around particular models or types of car at certain price points with PCP.

“These dealers want their lenders to be able to make the whole process as slick and easy as possible while still maintaining high levels of service and compliance. It’s a challenge but we have invested heavily in this area over the last year and are confident in our provision.”

He added that the picture was complicated slightly by the fact that some established lenders seemed to tighten up their lending rules when it came to online provision.

“This is something that we hear both anecdotally from dealers and from other lenders, that the kind of customer who would be approved if they are sitting across the desk from you is quite often turned down for an online application.

“To some extent, it is understandable – online is a more physically remote process than providing finance for a customer in a showroom, the profile of applicants is often different, and some lenders are nervous. However, it is also indicative of a slightly old-fashioned attitude to digital business and there is no doubt that some dealers find it very frustrating.

“Certainly our attitude is that an online application can be handled the same as any other application and this is a can-do attitude that we believe has helped us win more business.”