Exeter CEO sees steady growth of 15-20%

Floyd: “We've seen what happens when you don't slow down, and it's not a pretty picture.”

UPDATED: 9/17/14 5:23 pm: Correction

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article included a projection of growth for 2015 that was incorrect. It has been corrected.

LAS VEGAS -- Exeter Finance Corp., a subprime auto-financing specialist, should post “just steady growth” of 15 to 20 percent a year, CEO Mark Floyd predicted in comments at the Industry Summit, an F&I conference here last week.

Exeter’s niche is serving borrowers with credit scores of 475 to 625, Floyd said. The company's originations were $1.3 billion for 2013, and are expected to be approximately $1.8 billion this year.

He made the forecast even though in July the company started “making some tweaks” to its lending, he said, tightening its credit standards a bit in light of concerns about issues such as used-car prices.

“We’ve seen what happens when you don’t slow down, and it’s not a pretty picture,” Floyd said.

The Dallas company was founded in 2006 by four executives who formerly worked at subprime specialist AmeriCredit Corp., which General Motors acquired in 2010 and transformed into GM Financial. Floyd, a former COO at AmeriCredit, joined Exeter in 2010. The company was purchased in 2011 by private-equity giant Blackstone Group and became profitable on a GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis this year, he said.

One of this year’s major initiatives is rolling out the company’s automated-decisioning software, which uses nontraditional credit information to cut the time required to decide whether to extend a loan to a retail customer “down to seconds,” Floyd said.

By Oct. 31, all of the lender’s offices will have the system in place.

That nationwide network currently stands at about 32 or 33 regional offices, down from 48 or 49 at one point, he said.

“We’re not trying to build another AmeriCredit,” Floyd said. “We can’t compete with Santander, GM Financial, Wells Fargo” or other giant automotive lenders, he added, noting that the top five lenders account for roughly half of the subprime market.

Instead, he said, “We want to compete for the other 50 percent.”

The company’s originations were $1.3 billion for 2013, and are expected to be approximately $1.8 billion this year

You can reach James B. Treece at autonews@crain.com

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