Yamaha Motor Finance Corp. added a prime underwriting team to its Cypress, Calif.-based headquarters, following the launch of the Yamaha-exclusive credit card and the captive’s expanded focus on prime consumers, said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Young.
“When we established our nonprime operations, we established a dealer service center here in Cypress that is managed and staffed by Yamaha employees,” Young told Powersports Finance. “Up until two months ago, [Yamaha Motor Finance] was solely focused on nonprime. So what we have done is we built out and added the element of that dealer service center, to specifically focus on prime.”
The resources aren’t shared because there is a different skill set required to buy nonprime paper versus buying credit card or prime paper, Young said. The new department within the dealer service center will manage all of the underwriting aspects of the credit card business, which includes dealer-facing communication, follow-up on missing data, and other typical parts of the underwriting process, he added.
Yamaha Motor Corp. launched the captive last year to initially focus on limited credit and first-time buyers. “We’ve continued to maintain our focus on our nonprime program, and this [credit card program] is better viewed as an extension,” of the captive’s services, Young said.
Yamaha’s initial “true captive approach” to retail finance was with the nonprime rollout, Young said. “We, at that time, also understood that really what we were doing was developing what I would call ‘an infrastructure for future opportunities’ as well.” The nonprime business — while extremely important to the brand and to Yamaha’s dealers — was just an “initial step towards future opportunities” that Yamaha could leverage this infrastructure around, Young said.
Yamaha Motor Finance first piloted the credit card program to select dealers in California, Florida, and Illinois on Sept. 22, before rolling it out nationwide to all authorized Yamaha dealers on Nov. 1.