LightStream, the online lending division of SunTrust Banks, is aiming to add “dozens” of dealerships to its affiliate program by yearend, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Todd Nelson told Powersports Finance.
LightStream’s affiliate program calls for dealerships or other businesses to promote the lender’s offerings on their websites. “I’d love to see us continue to add more dealers to our affiliate program,” Nelson said. “They can sign up for the affiliate program and then put links on their website to refer their customers to us, and that continues to grow.”
Consumers apply on LightStream’s website for unsecured loans on any type of powersports vehicle. Consumers can use the interest rate range on the site to calculate their monthly payment. On approval, a consumer receives the loan within the business day and can go to the dealership to purchase the vehicle as a cash buyer.
The benefit to dealers recommending customers to LightStream is that the consumer will get a transparent finance process, which ultimately creates a better shopping experience, Nelson said. Typically, customers will go to the dealership first to test ride vehicles and learn the price, which increases the likelihood that the customer will return to that store after getting a LightStream loan.
Part of the way that LightStream will reach more dealers is through spreading awareness about the company in the industry. LightStream primarily focuses on doing online advertisements, such as search engine marketing. LightStream has also begun to do radio and TV advertisements.
Atlanta-based LightStream has 75 strategic partners and 800 affiliates. Nelson declined to quantify the company’s powersports dealer affiliates.