‘Drive the Innovation, or be Driven Out,’ Exeter CEO Tells AFS Attendees

canstockphoto30868401LAS VEGAS — The auto finance industry is changing. It’s just a matter of how fast, Exeter Finance Corp. Chief Executive Tom Anderson said in his keynote address at the Auto Finance Summit 2015 yesterday. The auto finance industry is an integral part of the economy.

It employs millions and generates billions, and as a result the industry has also garnered intense regulatory scrutiny — something that, he said, isn’t entirely undeserved. “It doesn’t mean everyone is doing bad things,” Anderson said. “We can dismiss it and say it’s political, it’s more money for the regulatory body, but that’s not true; they focus on an industry for a reason.”

The remedy is to center the business more on the consumer, and less on the dealer, Anderson said. “We work through dealerships, they make decisions, but if we focus on the consumer, things can improve,” Anderson said. The increasing popularity of rideshare companies like Uber, and marketplace lenders like Lending Club are good indicators of what consumers are looking for today, he said. Although he doesn’t believe rideshares will eliminate ownership altogether, the industry will change, either by choice or by regulatory direction.

“So, what is our future?” Anderson asked attendees. “Do we want to be Tower Records, or do we want to be iTunes?”

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