Ally hiking underwriter staff to service dealers
It's a sign of the times.
As auto lending comes back along with U.S. auto sales, Ally Financial, whose biggest automotive customers are General Motors and Chrysler, is hiring. Its U.S. customers also include the Fiat, Suzuki and Maserati brands.
Ally is increasing its force of underwriters who interact directly with dealerships by about 15 percent, adding jobs in Pittsburgh; Detroit; Atlanta; Chicago; Charlotte, N.C.; Costa Mesa, Calif.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Lewisville, Texas.
Ally wouldn't say how many positions it is adding, but in its 2011 annual report it said it has about 2,100 employees in the United States and Canada in dealer-facing positions for finance and insurance, plus manufacturer relationships. That number includes underwriters. Ally has another 2,100 employees who support North American servicing operations, the report said.
In an era of increasing automation, the move shows Ally recognizes the need for one-to-one relationships between underwriters and F&I managers. It probably also reflects the fact that Ally is pursuing more subprime loans, more used-car loans and more business with dealers who aren't affiliated with GM or Chrysler. Those endeavors are more labor-intensive than handling routine, prime-risk loans with existing customers.
Ally's U.S. consumer originations, including loans and leases on new and used vehicles, were up 28 percent to about $40.3 billion in 2011.
Hiring 15 percent more underwriters in response to a 28 percent growth in business also suggests Ally is counting on higher productivity.
You can reach Jim Henry at email@example.com.