Chase Combines Finance with Marketing to Improve Process

By Ted Craig December 13, 2018 365

(Chase Auto announced a new shift in leadership that aligns its lending business with marketing into one consumer-facing shop. The combination will be led by Chase Auto Chief Marketing Officer Melinda Welsh.
Welsh will be the first to lead marketing and direct lending for Chase Auto, playing a key role in Chase Auto’s larger business strategy.
Welsh has served as the Chase Auto chief marketing officer for four years and will oversee how Chase Auto is integrated into all consumer-facing channels, whether online, in a branch, in a dealership or through other marketing efforts.
She recently spoke with Used Car News.)

UCN: What is your background?
Welsh: I’ve been marketing/communication roles my entire career. I have typically had a focus on digital aspects of marketing and communications. I was a consultant for many years. At Chase, I ran digital marketing for credit cards and mortgages. I’ve been with auto for four years. This past year we combined all our consumer-facing business, which includes marketing, lending and product design.

UCN: How will you function in this expanded role?
Welsh: I call it a marketer’s dream come true, to be truly responsible for business outcomes and to combine that with marketing. Coca-Cola just started taking this approach as well and you’ll see a lot of companies taking marketing to the next level.

UCN: How will this affect the finance process?
Welsh: Our goal is to provide financing for our customers however they want it. There has been a focus on digital financing and marketing at Chase and that’s not going away. We want to keep on investing n that. But we want to give people on the digital side more tools. For example, we should be able to approve consumers, especially our existing Chase customers, a lot faster for financing and pre-approve them so they know where they stand when they go into the dealership.
We don’t want to forget about the in-person process. That can be either in one of our branches or in a dealership. We are working on ways to improve that process. We want to give people lots of options.

UCN: Will this new intiative hjelp with consumer satisfaction?
Welsh: One of the biggest causes of dissatisfaction is consumers aren’t confident that they’re getting a good deal. I think having a lot of tools and education upfront, knowing what you’re pre-approved for, knowing what questions to ask really helps improve confidence in the whole finance process.

UCN: What does this change do for dealers?
Welsh: Direct lending for Chase in still a smaller piece of the pie than indirect lending and we’re OK with that. It’s more about giving customers choices. It’s all about getting more of the process done upfront and then closing at the dealership.
It doesn’t matter me so much that we’ve originated the loan before the customer walks in. It does matter to me that the customer knows how much he can afford, knows all the tools at their disposal and is ready to do that transaction with dealer, hopefully with us.
That’s a little bit of a shift in our business. It’s really about providing as much flexibility as [possible. Which exact route a customer takes is less important to me than that they feel really good about the process and the role that both Chase and the dealer played in that process.

UCN: Is this attempt to grow direct lending?
Welsh: What we’re really trying to do for consumers is that let them know that Chase is here for more than lending. We want to help point them in the direction of the type of vehicle that they want. We wan to help point them one of our preferred dealers.
We like any extra business, but that isn’t our main goal.

UCN: How does this move work into Chase’s overall strategy in auto finance?
Welsh: We’re looking at the ways Chase can impact our customers’ fionancial lives. That includes everything from owning a home to investing to paying for college. Owning a vehicle in one of the biggest purchases a consumer makes. This move shows an investment in hat part of a customer;s financial life.

UCN: How has the digital aspect of the business changed during your career?
Welsh: I think the digital might have swung too far on the doing things only digitally. There is still a critical in-person piece. We made some assumptions a few years agi that the entire car-buyiong process was moving to 100 percent digital. But recent research shows that only about 20 percent of customers would consider an end-to-end digital experience. A vast majority of people still want to go into the dealership.
Digital is still extremely important, espiecllay in the initial phases and it hjelps make things more eifficient when the consumer gets to the dealership.
This is true for all aspects of banking. We just announced that we’re investing in opening more branches.

UCN: What are your near-term goals?
Welsh: We want to be a bigger player in the full cycle of car ownership, not just the financing piece. We’ve been setting the stage for that. We changed our name to Chase Auto from Chase Auto Finance. It seems very subtle, but it was purposeful.
You’ll start ot see more consumer-facing tests and pilots that we do next year that go toward the concept.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 14:31