By Zach Hallowell, Business Line Director, OPENLANE
In recent years, recovery agents have been hard-pressed to provide a comprehensive set of end-to-end, recovery through remarketing services to the lenders and financial institutions they serve. Lenders are increasingly concerned about ensuring their cars receive an adequate audience of bidders to fulfill their obligation to sell the vehicle in a commercially reasonable manner. Simply receiving a few bids from local dealers while the cars sit on a recovery company’s lot is often no longer seen as sufficient.
According to Art Christensen, an active member of the American Recovery Association for the past 40 years and founder, owner, president and CEO of Newark-based Commercial Services Corporation (CSC), this has left small recovery operations “handcuffed” because the chance to provide clients additional services beyond just repossessing a vehicle is imperative for an agency’s bottom line. But with the nationwide reach to thousands of prospective dealers now afforded through online auction companies such as OPENLANE, agents have new opportunities to get back to providing full “womb to tomb” services, as Christensen calls them, and diversify their revenue stream.
“Using a service like OPENLANE is just common sense,” Christensen notes. “The program provides the best possible solution for the debtor, the creditor and the recovery company. And it creates an opportunity for recovery companies to create additional income for ourselves by adding to our service portfolios.” Art Christensen has spent a career trying to make life easier for people in the recovery business. Along the way Christensen has been involved in everything from developing the original software packages for automating recovery agents to being one of the first recovery service providers to offer online vehicle remarketing to his clients.
According to Christensen, moving the remarketing process online is a smart move. Christensen says that by putting the remarketing process back into the hands of agents and allowing them to do it online, not only is the sales process automated and more streamlined, it also eliminates additional transport fees where both lenders and agents benefit from faster times to sale with minimal costs.
With online remarketing everything is taken care of for the recovery agents and lenders, including paperwork, arbitration, third-party inspections and transportation. The online selling process at OPENLANE couldn’t be simpler, Christensen adds. The system is extremely easy to use, allowing vehicles and transfer data to be uploaded to the auction with the push of a button. Users also benefit from an immediate market—vehicles can be sold in days, as opposed to weeks or months when remarketed at physical auctions. In fact, the first car CSC sold on OPENLANE.com had been sitting on its lot for more than six months when it was uploaded to the online auction—and it sold within days. OPENLANE’s nationwide dealer buying network also provides the fastest means of liquidating collateral, Christensen says.
“This is the future of auto liquidation—using an automated centralized database of vehicles and selling them nationwide to an immediate market. It’s effortless. OPENLANE doesn’t leave you out in the wilderness. They’re out there working to help sell your cars, and they have the best solution out there.” To help get clients and lenders on board, CSC is reaching out directly to its clients to educate them on the advantages of remarketing online. Christensen says the majority of his lenders are very interested in the service.
After his more than forty years as a member of the association, he recently stepped down from a position on the ARA Board of Directors. He believes it’s important for other organizations such as the ARA to help support the online process and advise members and lenders to use sites like OPENLANE. “This is an important step in helping us to all unify as an industry. We need to support online remarketing as the most effective means available for collateral liquidation. It’s superior to anything else out there and the success recovery agents can realize from this will be incredible for all parties concerned.”