JIM HENRY

Ex-prime customers pose golden opportunity

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

At auto lender get-togethers, you hear that the recession drove many customers with gold-plated credit histories into subprime.

At the recent Royal Media Group Auto Finance Risk Summit, LEAP Auto Finance CEO Tim Condon said his firm refinances cars that are in the repossession process. LEAP offers to lease the car to the same owner at a lower monthly payment -- with a starter-interrupter installed. Former prime customers jump at the offer, quickly handing in complete and accurate paperwork, Condon said. In contrast, subprime lifers tend to respond after it's too late -- if they respond at all.

Picking out the ex-prime folks who are down on their luck sounds like a real opportunity.

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