Startline Motor Finance has recorded a 20% increase in turnover this year when compared to 2019, putting the firm on track to exceed its pre-pandemic growth target.
The firm cited several factors as the driving force behind the growth, such as increased efforts to accommodate dealer needs during Covid-19 and the growing relevance of the company product range.
The growth is particularly positive as Startline have bucked the broader industry trend, with the overall used-car market for 2020 expected to be a fifth smaller than the previous year.
Paul Burgess, Startline chief executive, explained the firm’s success: “There are two main things that we have got right this year. The first is that, once the pandemic hit and the lockdown got underway, we kept operations moving ready for the reopening and put a lot of effort into ensuring that our systems were right for the new types of trading models that dealers were adopting. That meant that once car sales became possible again, we hit the ground running.
“The second is that the Startline core proposition, of providing finance comparable to prime lenders to around one in four applicants who have previously been refused credit through that kind of channel, turned out to be very much of the moment.”
Burgess continued: “Certainly, many prime lenders tightened up their criteria as part of their initial response to the market and this simply meant there were increased numbers of people entering our part of the motor finance market. The expertise that we have developed in this sector has become ever more important in the current circumstances.”
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This year, a significant portion of Startline’s efforts had centred on meeting the needs of customers whose finances had been impacted by the pandemic.
Startline established a specialist team that enabled them to handle client concerns with sensitivity, leaving space for the rest of the company to concentrate on core business.
Burgess concluded: “It is all about acting responsibly and sensitively when it comes to arriving at the best outcomes for car buyers in this position, following both the FCA’s guidelines but going further in many instances.
“We’ve worked hard in this area to ensure that customers are treated as fairly and sympathetically as possible. It’s about arriving at solutions over time that, as much as we can, minimise the impact on their lives and livelihoods.”