Chase creates new brand for Mazda financing

Chase Auto Finance will begin financing Mazda vehicle customers under a new brand, Mazda Capital Services.

Mazda Capital Services will be phased in at Mazda's 625 U.S. dealerships starting this spring and should be fully rolled out to consumers by this fall, said Chase Auto Finance spokeswoman Mary Kay Bean.

Chase Auto Finance already is the preferred lender for Subaru, Jaguar and Land Rover.

"We have proven the fallacy of the argument that for a car company to be successful it has to have its own captive," said Marc Sheinbaum, CEO of Chase Auto Finance, in a separate interview last week before the joint announcement with Mazda North American Operations.

"We've had staying power in good times and in bad," he said, responding to a common complaint against banks in auto finance. Chase, like some other auto lenders, quit leasing in the fall of 2008, although it continued to offer leases for the specific brands it represents.

Chase was already the preferred lender for Mazda, but the bank's Mazda loans and leases bore the Chase brand. Starting Jan. 1, 2009, Mazda used Chase exclusively for all retail and lease programs.

Prior to that, Ford Credit was Mazda's preferred lender, but they parted ways in late 2008, as Ford Credit chose to concentrate on the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. Ford also sold its controlling stake in Mazda in late 2008.

Chase said it was the nation's No. 1 auto lender in loan originations in 2009, lending $23.7 billion to finance 1.1 million new and used vehicles.

Sheinbaum said Chase is open to more private-label relationships with automotive brands. "We like that part of the business." he said. "That's part of the growth strategy going forward."

Chase would also like to add to its already substantial lending business with dealerships, including floorplan, real estate and commercial loans, Sheinbaum said.

The commercial side was a "bumpy road" in 2009, he said.

"We had our share of Chrysler and GM dealers that were terminated," he said. "That's been an obsessive amount of time on the commercial side."

Nevertheless, he said, "We are looking to grow our dealer business."

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