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Finance flexibility is key to recovery, says Startline

Startline Motor Finance chief executive, Paul Burgess

Lending panels are favouring finance providers that can deliver a high degree of flexibility, as dealers look to restart their businesses after the Coronavirus lockdown.

To get dealers trading as seamlessly as possible, Startline Motor Finance says lending panels are looking for ‘enablers’ that can offer flexibility and willingness.

Paul Burgess (pictured), the company's CEO, said: “Dealers want all the boxes ticked that were required from motor finance before the coronavirus crisis – a high degree of compliance, a strategic product range, strong account management – but also now need processes that fit in with their new trading models.

“It is all about acting as an enabler to their business. Lending panel volumes are favouring those that can make decisions with the minimum of fuss and as quickly as possible, because dealers – many of whom are operating on reduced staffing – just have other things to do.”

A large part of the ‘enabling’ process is based on IT enhancements, something that a number of motor finance companies have spent much of the lockdown period working with dealers on.

“We spotted this trend quite early on and looked at ways in which we could streamline our IT to fit in with the reserve-and-collect processes that we thought would become the norm.

“The key for us was to introduce a universal e-agreement that works for our dealers, for compliance and for the new processes. Since its introduction in April, it has played an important part in us hitting the ground running for the new normal,” added Burgess.

Flexibility is expected to become even more important in the coming months as it is still unclear how the market will develop.

Burgess said: “We’ve seen an unleashing of pent-up demand in June but, in all honesty, that is unlikely to continue and it is very possible that we will see a see-sawing used car market over the coming months before any sustained recovery.

“There will be a need to adapt to market conditions quickly and without fuss, and we believe that the motor finance providers that are able to meet that need will continue to be the suppliers with which dealers will prefer to work.”

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