Giving Credit: Installment 3 - The Explosive Growth in Sources of Funds for Lending

on Tuesday, 23 May 2017.

In our prior installment, back on April 3rd, we discussed the transformative nature of technical innovation on the retail lending landscape. So, where is the money to fund all this innovation coming from? Whenever there is significant disruption like there is right now in the consumer lending and financing industry, the innovators must be paid. In this industry, there is the additional hurdle that the funds to be offered must be secured.

3 Ways to Accelerate Growth

on Tuesday, 09 May 2017. Posted in Blog

So you want to grow? Building a successful business and growing the revenue is in the bloodline of every entrepreneur involved in startups, middle market companies and even billion dollar giants. However, growth not tied to a scalable strategy or business plan has left many CEOs concerned about the direction of their business. Wall Street has driven public opinion that every good company must show a consistently smooth growth trend, triggering many CEOs to push for immediate quarterly growth not necessarily tied to their company’s current capabilities or risk exposure.

Giving Credit: 3 Technology Trends Accelerating In-Store Consumer Credit to Light Speed

on Monday, 03 April 2017. Posted in Blog

Last time in our Giving Credit blog, we briefly discussed the history of in-store consumer credit as an industry. Today, we’ll review how more recent changes in the credit industry are deeply linked to seismic shifts in underlying telecommunications technologies. In the earliest stages of third-party in-store credit, the companies offering credit did so with no electronic communications at all. Bookkeeping was done in ledgers, and information was exchanged by mail. Obviously, the amount of credit offered was a small fraction of what is offered now, but that era made in-store credit part of our culture and put in place the habits and paths that are still visible in the modern automated world.

The Chairman's Viewpoint: So You Think You Know How to Spell Loyalty?

on Tuesday, 07 March 2017. Posted in Blog

It’s been said, “If you want loyalty, get a dog!” That may be true in our personal lives, but obviously not in our business lives.

Most people would agree that a good definition of being loyal is as Merriam-Webster defines it: “Unswerving in allegiance.” Isn’t this what every business owner wants in its customers? How do we achieve that?

Go ahead and search for the definition of a loyalty program and you’re certain to find it referring to marketing. One definition by Wikipedia (and who doesn’t love Wikipedia?!) is: “Loyalty programs are structured marketing strategies designed by merchants to encourage customers to continue to shop at or use the services of businesses associated with each program.”

Giving Credit: A New Dynamic Between Merchant and Lender

on Thursday, 16 February 2017. Posted in Blog

We are entering a period of some significant financial uncertainty. While the stock markets and the economy continue their upward momentum, at the same time there are signs of nervousness about the underpinnings of our country’s infrastructure, financial systems, and the ability of future generations to create and consolidate wealth as past generations did. In this environment, retailers must make everyday decisions that may make or break their businesses – decisions about inventory levels to keep, prices to charge, and credit to offer their customers. This is nerve-wracking stuff. It has to be right.

That last item, how much credit to offer and how to offer it, has become one of the key levers of financial success in the retail trades. There is hard evidence that having the right credit partners and offering the right credit programs can add 50% to the number of transactions and 33% to the amount a consumer will buy.

The Chairman's Viewpoint: Death Valley – Where the Remains of Potential Sales Lie

on Wednesday, 04 January 2017. Posted in Blog

Death Valley

You’ve offered consumer financing from one of the large prime credit lenders for years and feel as though you are competitive by doing so. Then along comes those consumers (a majority of Americans, by the way) who don’t have prime credit. Being interested in making a sale, you decide to expand your consumer financing offerings by bringing in a no-credit-check or no-credit-required option. After all, this type of program costs you very little, if anything, so, why not – can’t hurt, can it?

There are many options in the marketplace for this type of offering – typically a lease-to-own program. So, now that you have your "alternative" financing program, you are ready to ring the register with sales previously lost from prime credit lender declines.

The Chairman’s Viewpoint: Thinking a Few Moves Ahead

on Wednesday, 14 December 2016. Posted in Blog

Chess PiecesThe best chess players think 5 moves ahead. In our experience, the best retailers do too.

The Christmas / Holiday sales season is a busy time for us all. So, first, thank you for spending a few moments reading this viewpoint. If you’re like our customers across a variety of retail industries, your sales floor right now shows all the signs of a profitable season, but also some of the following stresses:

    • sales people stressed out at all demands on their time
    • customers queued up to talk to sales people about products
    • financing conversations and paperwork taking up too much time
    • customers walking out the door unsatisfied with the sales experience and/or the financing options available to them

The Chairman’s Viewpoint: Breaking Bad

on Tuesday, 01 November 2016. Posted in Blog

The retail sales associate is not a unique breed. They typically settle in to a comfortable selling process that has been cultivated and established over years. Introducing a different approach can be uncomfortable. Therefore, resisting change is the norm with the typical retail sales associate. How can you break “bad”?

The Chairman’s Viewpoint: “My Customer Doesn’t Need Financing.” – Yeah, Right!

on Tuesday, 20 September 2016. Posted in Blog

I’ve listened to quite a few retailers over the years talk about how their customers just don’t need financing, or so they think. Therefore, they tend not to promote consumer financing or discuss it with their customers during the shopping process. With the exception of a few high-end retailers, most retailers have a fairly high percentage of consumers walking through their doors that have less than great credit and/or not much available credit (“purchasing power”) to use on a purchase in the store. By not promoting and discussing financing, including near-prime credit and no-credit-check financing, the retailer has inherently shrunk its potential target customer base to those that have the means AND desire to purchase on their existing credit lines or with cash. You see, just because an individual has an available balance on their credit card of, say $3,000, doesn’t mean they want to use all or most of it on a furniture, jewelry, appliance, or bedding purchase today. Consumers tend to view their credit card as that primary money source to be used for essential or “staple” purchases (e.g., gas, groceries, clothing, etc.) or for emergencies, such as medical or dental, automotive repair, or some other unexpected expense.

You would be very surprised how low the average FICO score is in your town or city.

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