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Capital One Eyeing Captive-Like Presence

MCLEAN, Va. — Capital One Auto Finance (COAF) is looking to forge a closer relationship with the more than 3,000 dealers in its Diamond Dealer program, a preferred dealer program the finance source launched in November 2011. The finance source may even look to forge captive-like relationships with vehicle manufacturers, an executive told F&I and Showroom this week.

Michelle Carriere, senior vice president and manager of Capital One Bank’s commercial dealer services group, said the finance source is not actively pursuing hybrid captive relationships like Chase Auto Finance has with Chrysler and FIAT and Wells Fargo has with General Motors. But the pieces are in place, with the bank having connected Carriere’s business unit with Capital One Auto Finance’s Diamond Dealer program, which provides dealers with volume-based discounts on retail and now floorplan deals, fast-tracking for approvals and funding, dedicated buyers and more flexible buying policies.

“I think it’s something we’re interested in, but COAF would be the driver,” Carriere said of the finance source’s possible run at captive-like relationships with vehicle manufacturers. “In my mind, we’re as close to being captive-like in that we can provide full-spectrum buying on the retail side and can provide floorplanning. But it expands beyond that in that we can do things captives can’t do.”

In July, Capital One Bank added three new sales officers to Carriere’s more than 25-year-old business unit as part of a coast-to-coast expansion plan. With the new additions, the commercial dealer services group will have sales managers in each of its regional buying centers, which are located in the Atlanta, Baton Rouge, La., Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, McClean, Va., and New York markets. Aside from floorplan loans, Diamond dealers will now have access to the bank’s treasury management and merchant services, investment banking and more.

The new sales officers include 18-year auto finance veteran Martin Pinckney, a former AmeriCredit general manager, Lisa Tarrant, a 16-year business development professional who previously worked in Bank of America’s dealer financial services group, and Tim Redmond, who spent 16 years in Bank of America’s dealer financial service group. Carriere said she expects to increase her seven-person sales team to 10. They will oversee teams of underwriters and customer service associates in each buying center.

Carriere said the expansion, which was discussed for three years before the plan got the green light less than six months ago, should double her group’s business in the next year. She said she expects bigger increases after that.

“We want to be the dealer’s one-stop shop,” Carriere said. “We want to be able to offer all of the things that a big bank can bring to the table, but yet have the look and feel of a community-type bank.”


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