Chase Auto has handed responsibility for direct lending to its chief marketing officer, part of an effort to unify its customer-facing business and present services beyond traditional auto lending.
After four years as chief marketing officer, Melinda Welsh, 45, has added direct lending to her title. Combining marketing and direct lending is new for Chase Auto.
"What we really wanted to do was consolidate anything that touches our end consumer, particularly our Chase customers, and bring that into one umbrella," Welsh told Automotive News. "That might be lending needs. That might be other types of car-buying needs. That might be you're a customer of one of our private labels."
Welsh replaces Jim Manelis, 51, as head of direct lending. Manelis is now Chase Auto's head of strategic alliances, overseeing nonmanufacturer partnerships such as Chase Auto's tie-up with AutoFi, an online car shopping and financing platform.
In February, Chase's auto finance segment changed its name from Chase Auto Finance to Chase Auto to more broadly define its auto business.
"A number of our customers know us for our lending, but if we asked a customer a year from now, 'How does Chase Auto help improve your financial situation?' they wouldn't just say lending," Welsh said.
Chase Auto hopes its customers will soon view the company as "a holistic auto solution, not just a lender," she said. "That's underlying pretty much everything that I'm working on right now."