Lenders Look to Grow Through Mobile in 2015

paymenttechCompetition is forecast to be high in 2015, with auto sales slowing and more lenders looking to pick up market share. Plus the elusive attention of millennials continues to be a puzzle many financiers want to solve, and some are hoping that increased mobile capability may help give them an edge in the game next year.

Ally Financial Inc. announced an upgrade to its Auto Mobile Pay app on Monday, which now features the ability to initiate a chat with a customer service representative, and to make auto payments and view account information from the customer’s smartphone.

The bank also simplified billing statements to make them easier to read, and extended call center hours to better accommodate customers. The enhancements, President of Servicing for Auto Operations Evan Noulas said, were designed with the consumer in mind, and are part of Ally’s focus on providing the best service and experience for the bank’s auto customers.

“We will continue to update the app and online offerings, and continue to listen to user feedback to ensure we are addressing the needs of our users,” Noulas said.

Likewise, Navy Federal Credit Union will kick off a mobile initiative in 2015, Assistant Vice President of Consumer Lending Joseph Pendergast said. The credit union, which caters to military personnel, aims to provide its members the ability to manage their loans from anywhere in the world. “They live really mobile and transient lifestyles, and convenience is key for them,” Pendergast said. “In order to get them the service they expect, we are introducing electronic signature in 2015, so we are very excited about that.”

The e-signature capability will be introduced in stages, starting with low-risk personal loans, then moving on to auto loans. An exact schedule for the e-signature initiative is still to be determined, but Pendergast estimates that auto loans will be rolled out in calendar year 2015. “There’s a lot of benefits there,” he said. “Members can go in and sign their promissory note on a mobile device in the convenience of their living room.”

Currently, members can view account statements on their mobile devices, but come the new year, NFCU plans to introduce the ability to apply for loans and make payments.

It’s not just lenders looking to expand their technology capabilities next you though. MyAutoLoan.com is gearing up for a January 2015 top-to-bottom website redesign utilizing responsive design, said Chief Executive Gregory Thibodeau.

MyAutoLoan is an online direct lending marketplace that matches applicants with lenders like Santander Consumer USA, Wells Fargo Dealer Services, and Chase Auto Finance, among others. Its current website utilizes responsive design for tablets, but for not smartphones. The redesign, he said, will allow consumers to access the same site from any device.

“All of our attention in 2015 is designed around growth and how we market to consumers,” Thibodeaux said. “If you look at a number of partners or competitors in the space, you’ll see everything from sites that look like they’re four or five years old, small page widths, and aren’t taking advantage of the new flat layouts and responsive design.”

MyAutoLoan saw strong growth in 2014, Thibodeau said, with application volume increasing 30% to about 20,000 applications per month. The company aims to continue that growth in the new year by giving consumers a more seamless online and mobile experience. “Our brand will still be the same, but we’ll come out with a very significant, overall new look and feel with responsive design,” Thibodeau said.

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