Compliance, achieving portfolio goals and evolving to support Ford's transition to an auto company and a mobility company are some of Joy Falotico's goals in her first year as Ford Motor Credit's COO.
Falotico, 48, had been executive vice president of marketing and sales, Americas and strategic planning before becoming COO Jan. 1. She also is chairman of the American Financial Services Association's vehicle finance board. She spoke with Staff Reporter Hannah Lutz Wednesday at AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference at Caesars Palace.
What are your goals for your first year as Ford Motor Credit COO?
First and foremost, it's about delivering the plan, so staying focused on the One Ford plan and making sure we're supporting Ford in growth in all of our markets around the world. We do that by making sure that we are delivering value to our customers and we're originating and servicing the portfolio within our expectations. We also around the world stay abreast of the regulatory requirements and make sure that we're always in compliance with those.
The other area that I'm focused on is the emerging opportunities, and as Ford is looking to transition to an auto company and a mobility company, we're looking at what role the finance companies play in that new world. We're doing a lot of research on consumer trends, and I think you'll see some of our experiments that we're launching in the markets, pilots, where we're really looking to learn what new financing competencies are needed to support this emerging opportunity.
The pilot for Ford Credit Link, the lease-sharing program, was launched in early March. How is it going?
We are hearing some really good feedback. We've had some interesting customers calling the dealers, so we're excited about the prospects there. The program is really where three to six customers have the opportunity to lease one vehicle, and they will use an app to help manage their usage, pay their payments or chat within the group. So we're excited to see how that manifests.
Are Ford Credit and Lincoln Financial Services doing more leases?
[Industrywide], leasing is trending upward, and we have seen an increase in our leasing as well. But we're still below the industry level. We work with Ford on what we call our One Ford lease model, and we look at what are the right segments we need to be leasing in, what's the right geography, what's the right mix, and we look at that together to be sure we have a sustainable, long-term strategy for leasing.
Are you doing more extended loan terms?
That's another area where we continue to have our extended term less than the industry average because we have a commitment to trade cycle. At the same time, we need to make sure we have all the necessary financing tools for our dealers.