Past Auto Finance Excellence Award Winners
Each year since 2005, the Auto Finance News senior editorial team recognize achievements by companies and/or executives in the automotive finance industry during the Auto Finance Summit. Nominations for the annual Auto Finance Excellence Awards are solicited from our readers, and a panel of judges selects the winners. Companies and executives are permitted to nominate themselves and service providers may nominate their finance company clients.
Executives and/or companies may be nominated for excellence and innovation in the prior 12-month period in operations, community service, leadership, human resources, customer service, competitive performance or technology.
Past award winners include:
Auto lenders, retailers and executives have pushed their businesses forward throughout 2022 in the face of a market defined by macroeconomic uncertainty, decreasing consumer demand and rising interest rates. They also found ways to serve their communities and launch new and innovative financing programs.
The 18th annual awards recognize charitable and community efforts, innovation and product development, and noteworthy deals or joint ventures within the auto finance industry. The awards also recognize auto finance executives who during their career have pushed the envelope not only at their own organization, but throughout the entire industry.
Community Service: Tricolor Auto Acceptance, for its work in providing affordable loans to thin- and no-file Hispanic communities in five states along the U.S. and Mexico border across 55 retail hubs.
Strategy: Vroom, for the completed acquisition of United Auto Credit Corp. and the subsequent integration of UACC’s technology stacks and proprietary loan origination system onto Vroom’s platform.
Leadership: Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive financial solutions at Experian, for her years of forethought and dedication in using data for analysis in the auto finance industry. Zabritski has become one of the industry’s leading voices on credit performance, loan terms, credit tier market share and EV financing, and began to leverage data when such a strategy was at its infancy.
Leadership: Ian Anderson, group president of Westlake Financial, in recognition of the lender’s evolution and standing as a tech leader in the auto finance space. Anderson since 2005 has spearheaded day-to-day operations at Westlake, helping to expand its credit box to the full spectrum while realizing his vision to revolutionize the auto finance industry through technology.
Auto lenders and executives set the bar for excellence high during 2021 by supporting their communities and team members while the COVID-19 pandemic continued to shape the dynamic of the industry.
Auto finance executives were challenged to lead their teams from home and adapt to inventory woes, all while continuing to support the communities where they live and work.
Community Service: Toyota Financial Services, for its efforts to continue to promote employee volunteer work amid the pandemic — both online and in-person — through its Toyota for Good volunteer app.
Operations: NextGear Capital, for its commitment to its dealer partners through new program launches and ongoing dealer relief offerings spurred by the pandemic and designed to optimize cash flow.
Operations: Bank of America, for EV growth in its auto portfolio, along with the company’s continued efforts to improve accessibility to EVs and encourage consumers to reduce their carbon footprint.
Leadership: Dan Berce, president and chief executive of GM Financial, for 30-years of service to the auto finance industry, his leadership abilities, attention to employee success, commitment to financial education and philanthropic efforts. Over the last decade, Berce has been instrumental in growing the company from $10 billion to $100 billion in assets, expanding its global outreach and reaching the coverage of approximately 90% of GM’s worldwide sales.
Leadership: Sandra Broderick, former senior vice president and head of operations at Santander Consumer USA, in recognition of a career defined by senior executive roles, employee support initiatives and board leadership positions. Since starting in auto finance after college, Broderick has worked her way to the top, paving the way for women to advance into positions of power within the industry and have a seat at the executive table.
Auto lenders have proved their resiliency after facing unprecedented challenges. Despite a dip in new- and used-vehicle sales and continued inventory woes, the industry rebounded far more quickly than executives first expected when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. in April.
The Auto Finance News team highlighted above-and-beyond efforts with the 16th annual Auto Finance Excellence Awards, presented as part of the virtual 2020 Auto Finance Summit.
Community Service: Bank of America, for its specialty finance program targeting wheel-chair accessible vehicles.
Technology: Vroom, for enhancing its technology stack to address security and improvement needs and integrate financing into its digital car sales workflow. The company added more than 40 technology elements to its digital platform since the start of the pandemic.
Operations: Westlake Financial, for launching new programs and expanding on partnerships during the pandemic. Westlake improved multiple operations while also moving 2,300 employees to remote working during the pandemic.
Community Service: Toyota Financial Services, for leveraging its auto finance and remarking expertise to raise awareness and donations that support HIV/AIDS efforts through AIDS/LifeCycle — a 545-mile, 7-day charity bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Technology: Tricolor Auto Acceptance, for its extensive use of proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning models, mobile-first auto buying experiences, and WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger integration to fulfill its commitment to credit-invisible Hispanic borrowers.
Operations: Carvana, for bringing a fresh approach to the industry with its unique business model and customer experience, which include vehicle vending machines, seven-day vehicle return policy and home delivery.
Leadership: Auto Finance Coalition, a subchapter of the Association of Financial Crimes Investigators, for its work fighting fraud since 2011. The AFC consists of 165 members from the auto finance industry and law enforcement, and estimates that it has prevented tens of millions of fraud losses for the auto finance industry, including initiation of two large-scale criminal investigations that resulted in $7 million of losses.
Leadership: John Hyatt, president of dealer services at U.S. Bank, in recognition of a career marked by strong portfolio growth since taking the reins of the Minneapolis-based auto lender in 2015 and philanthropic efforts with organizations such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity and the Sulzbacher Center for the Homelessness.
Nominations for the 2023 Auto Finance Excellence Awards are now open! Companies and executives are invited to nominate themselves and service providers may nominate their finance company clients. Click here for the nomination form.