Broker Car Finance 2U (CF2U), part of the 1pm group, has launched an online vehicle finance enquiry tool, easing its dependence on car dealership leads.

Managing director Mark Burgess said the broker intends to build up a direct consumer channel next to third-party referrals, through which CF2U’s business would be “effectively” doubled. He also hinted at an expansion of the credit quality spectrum of customers.

Although the online tool is consumer-oriented, 1pm said CF2U was receiving leads from other businesses in the group – which include lessors One pm and Bradgate – signalling an opportunity for cross-selling in the SME and consumer customer bases. 15-lender-strong CF2U mainly operates in the consumer space, but gained a foothold in the commercial market when it was acquired by 1pm’s Academy Leasing in December.

CF2U has also appointed relationship managers Diane Faulkner and Ian Whiwham to bolster its operations.

Mark Burgess, managing director at CF2U, said: “Consumers are increasingly sourcing their car finance needs online, gaining an approval for car finance first and then selecting a vehicle. The car finance process lends itself well to transacting business online and the market is growing rapidly.

“Whilst there is strong competition in the direct consumer car finance market … we plan over time to create a ‘direct-to-consumer’ department similar in size to our existing dealer referred business, effectively doubling the size of CF2U.

“At the same time, we will be able to attract a wider spread of credit customers resulting in a greater utilization of our funding partners, consequently lowering overall business risk.”

Ian Smith, 1pm group chief executive said: “This exciting development at CF2U is a significant step towards our strategic objective of enhancing our digital capability, managing risk and profitably expanding our customer base.

“We are delighted with the commercial progress being made at our most recently-acquired business.”