Startup Maps Plan to Address Dealers’ Subprime Dilemma

canstockphoto0383632BOSTON — The only sounds heard inside Ride Today Acceptance’s Beverly, Mass.-based office are the clacking of keyboards and friendly phone calls as employees busily field inquiries from customers and dealers. Papers are practically spilling off the desks — hopefully a sign of success, and certainly a sign of the subprime lender’s hardworking team.

Located in the outskirts of Boston, the startup company set up shop just 18 months ago and is on track for continued growth in the subprime market, thanks to an executive team that brings 20-plus years of dealership subprime experience to the table, said Ben Donnarumma, the company’s partner and director of sales and marketing.

Subprime powersports financing is a risky business and still in its “infancy” — years behind the auto industry, Donnarumma said, which is why some startup subprime lenders that enter the powersports space may not succeed.

However, Ride Today Acceptance — a subsidiary of Encompass Consulting LLC — currently operates in 29 states and makes loans for new and used on-road powersports vehicles, including some off-road and side-by-side units. The lender funds an average of $700,000 in loans each month, and is on track to hit its monthly loan originations funding goal of $1.5 million by July 2015, according to National Sales Manager Jason Sheeley.

Ride Today also has a “conservative goal” to bolster its dealer count to 400 by April 2017, Sheeley said. Ride Today Acceptance signed on a dozen dealers in August, with another 15 “in the works,” he added, bringing the company’s dealer network to 261.

The company considers itself “years ahead” of its competition, thanks to the staff’s prior experience selling motorcycles and discussing finance options with consumers in the F&I office, Donnarumma added.

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