Powersports lender ThunderRoad Financial increased its approval rate to 54% in the first quarter compared with 15% the same time the prior year, which was partly driven by training dealers on its program, Chief Operation Officer Kristi Mercier told Powersports Finance.
“[The growth] speaks to us listening to [dealers] about where their needs are, but also having that training with the dealer and saying, ‘Hey, this is what we look for,’ so that way we’re getting the right applications and we’re able to turn those quicker,” Mercier said. “We’re able to provide that level of financing because, realistically, if we’re not buying loans and [consumers] are not buying bikes, it doesn’t work for either of us.”
ThunderRoad saw business begin to increase in February as consumers received their tax returns and headed to the dealership. In addition to providing training, the lender also created programs based on feedback it received from dealers. For example, the lender created a 24-to-48 month program in response to dealers looking for shorter terms than those being offered by OEM promotions.
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“We came up with a shorter term program at a very attractive rate in response that accomplished two important things,” Mercier said. ” It enables the dealer to structure the deal the way they want, as opposed to being restricted by the terms of the OEM program and the customers they can offer it to, and allowing the customer to get a short term contract at a very competitive rate while keeping the factory rebates and incentives.”
The Reno, Nev.-based lender also made changes to its dealer portal in December 2018 that were recommended by its dealer network, such as reducing the number of fields that dealers need to fill out.
ThunderRoad works with more than 500 dealers in 28 states and finances all makes and models — both new and used — and all credit tiers.