Highlights from the 2023 Annual Non-Prime Auto Financing Conference

Signature Events,

Hundreds of business leaders and industry professionals gathered at the 27th Annual Non-Prime Auto Financing Conference in Plano, Texas last week. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and solutions from the experts and were treated to exceptional networking events.

“I attended my second NAF conference last week and it was even better than the first one,” said Cheryl Cabral, Chief Administrative Officer with Ironhorse Funding LLC. “The sessions were informative, and it was great to network with peers in the industry.  There was a wide variety of vendors, and it was great to learn about new offerings in the industry.  The NAF team did a great job with this conference and I look forward to next year’s event.”

Over forty golfers hit the Prestonwood Hills Course early Wednesday morning with great weather and an excellent venue for networking. First-time attendees were also invited to a welcome session hosted by the NAF Association’s Executive Director, Jennifer Martin, and Immediate Past Chairman, Jim Bass with Agora Data. First-timers were given an overview of what to expect at the conference as well as a glimpse into membership with the association.

The association launched a new member program, the Ask to Answer Forums last fall, and opened the conference with an Ask to Answer networking luncheon followed by a presentation on Real Talk on Refunds: Elevating Your Aftermarket Services, before breaking out into roundtable discussions. All conference attendees were welcome to join in as a preview to membership. The Operations+ and Originations+ Forums will meet next virtually in October.

The opening keynote featured Amy Downs, President/CEO of Allegiance Credit Union, who shared her incredible story of resilience and transformation. Amy’s knowledge and experience with indirect lending and financial services helped her message resonate with attendees and set the tone for a great conference.

After a cocktail reception in the Exhibit Hall with industry solution providers, over 100 conference attendees shuttled over to Top Golf to “play around”. The gameplay and BBQ social was a fun way to interact with other conference participants and seemed to be enjoyed by all who participated.

Thursday kicked off a full day of educational content and learning with Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist with Cox Automotive, taking the stage first. Fortunately, Jonathan’s outlook was more positive than it has been in recent auto market updates. Next up, panelists shared a preview of insights based on data collected from the NAF Association’s annual survey report, presented in partnership with AFSA. This report is a benchmarking tool that offers a robust assessment of the industry’s growth and change and will be available for purchase later this month.

The Jack Tracey Pinnacle Award Ceremony tugged on the heartstrings of all those in the ballroom as Tom Hudson of Hudson Cook LLP was presented the inaugural award by longtime friend Jim Bass. “It makes it so much more special that it’s in honor of Jack,” Jim said as he presented Tom with his award.

The 2023 Jack Tracey Pinnacle Award, sponsored by RepoSystems, recognizes a professional at a member organization with enduring service to the non-prime auto finance industry. Next year’s award submission portal will open for nominations in early 2024.

The morning wrapped up with a panel of attorneys, who discussed the latest legal topics that impact auto sales and finance. The panelists touched on everything from the most recent CFPB proposals to recent litigation and cases of interest to the industry, and other federal and state emerging trends.

The afternoon split into two tracks: business/industry and compliance/legal. The compliance and legal track featured several session facilitators that began with laying the foundation for compliance and continued with compliant approaches to product cancellations and consumer notices before providing participants with the tools necessary to successfully recover the collateral and preserve a right to obtain a judgment for any deficiency remaining after a commercially reasonable disposition of the collateral.

The business and industry track featured several panels of experts that shared important insights on obtaining capital for a subprime finance company followed by the impact of electric vehicles on the subprime market. Later in the afternoon, attendees discovered best practices to make improvements in the collection and recovery cycle and closed out with different perspectives on the lender/dealer relationship and how to work together.

Everyone was invited back to the Exhibit Hall on Thursday night for a cocktail reception. Attendees were able to gain insights from business leaders and learn the latest innovations while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and libations. Later that night, the Dessert and Wine Reception served as the after-hours hot spot as attendees gathered for fellowship and the Wine and Spirits Pull. Participants won mystery bottles from their pull, and the funds raised supported the NAF Association and On the Road Lending.

Friday featured back-to-back industry powerhouses with Amy Martin, Senior Director of S&P, providing an update on auto loan ABC collateral performance and Frank McKenna, Chief Fraud Strategist at Point Predictive, engaging the audience with what the data tells us about fraud as we move into the age of Ai and what that means for the industry.

The closing keynote address featured a fireside chat with the CFPB’s Senior Program Manager for Auto Finance in the Office of Markets, Chris Kukla. Attendees learned more about the Bureau’s priorities and activities, while also hearing more about trends in the auto finance market.

“Our goal was to provide a valuable and fun conference experience for all of our attendees, sponsors and exhibitors,” said NAF Association’s Executive Director Jennifer Martin. “We aimed to bring dynamic speakers, relevant topics, and engaging networking events together to create an overall environment designed to encourage collaboration among peers.”

Of course, education and relationship development aren’t specific only to the conference. Membership with the NAF Association provides many opportunities throughout the year for personal and professional growth. Check out the website at www.nafassociation.com to learn more about resources, events, and education. Invest in your success and join the NAF Association community today. Your non-prime network starts here!

Save the date! The 28th Annual Non-Prime Auto Financing Conference will take place June 5 – 7, 2024 in Fort Worth, Texas.