In a vast—and largely digital—lending landscape, big banks and FinTechs often hog most of the financial glory. They’re more visible and have slick advertising that suggests they’re the best and safest...
Indirect loans have become a common part of the modern lending landscape and while these products can be great for borrowers seeking the best rates and financial institutions hoping to expand their business, indirect lending also creates a unique set of challenges.
Indirect borrowers may never visit the institution that financed their vehicle and oftentimes, the origination process is fully automated so they don’t even speak to a lender at the institution before signing documents!
Even if you never meet your borrowers face-to-face, it is important to maintain the same level of communication and customer service your institution is dedicated to, regardless of whether your borrowers are direct or indirect.
Consider these five suggestions to ensure your institution has an effective strategy in place to dazzle your indirect borrowers.
Different people prefer communicating through different channels. As technology creates more contact options, it’s important to keep pace with borrower preferences. Phone calls, emails, and text messages are all expected options for borrower-institution communication. Consistency and redundancy are both preferable and possible, with some customers stating their preference for a given method and others requiring multiple contact methods to gain top-of-mind awareness.
Regular communication touch points with your new indirect borrowers can make a substantial difference in their customer experience.
Demonstrate you care with something as simple as sending a regular email newsletter that shares more about your institution, providing some personality to your interactions so your borrowers learn more about your organization and your staff.
Let them know what you and your staff are doing to make an impact in the community and how they might get involved. Occasionally, you may even consider following up with a mailer that includes a free car wash or discounts to local events—small gifts that remind them you appreciate the business they brought to your financial institution.
One of the best ways to turn existing customers into repeat customers is to consistently provide stellar service. Offer help with existing products and friendly suggestions about complementary products through periodic personal check-ins or product awareness campaigns.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to provide information about your auto loans and encourage indirect borrowers to contact your team to apply for pre-approval when they are ready for their next purchase. Helping customers understand their options allows them to confidently go into the auto buying process.
Social media is one of the best ways to have a friendly, human presence in your borrowers’ lives. By creating original content and sharing content created by borrowers and other members of your community, your institution becomes a valued part of borrowers’ networks.
Encourage indirect borrowers to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks to stay connected with you, deepen your relationship, and encourage feedback. You can even start a hashtag that borrowers use to show off photos of them with their new vehicle, which increases awareness of your brand within their social networks.
To bring indirect borrowers further into your institution’s product ecosystem, consider offering products that speak to their specific needs.
To help financial institutions deliver a product that is relevant for indirect borrowers in today’s economy, SWBC’s Financial Institution Group is pleased to introduce healthCAR—a new, budget-friendly way for direct AND indirect borrowers to protect their vehicle after their manufacturer’s warranty expires with easy online enrollment, roadside assistance benefits, and no mileage restrictions.
A simple, affordable, month-to-month, vehicle service contract, healthCAR can help generate non-interest income for your credit union and address the needs of a wide segment of your borrower base, including indirect borrowers, borrowers with auto loans at other institutions, recently paid-off loans, and borrowers with vehicles past the manufacturer’s warranty.
Ronni Martinez joined SWBC in 1998 and is currently the Vice-President of Product Management for SWBC’s Financial Institution Group.
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