CBC Resourcing has recruited for the Motor Finance and related markets for the last 25 years and have witnessed significant change over that time and would predict that there is even more on the way.
In the late-1980s, UK Banks and many international Banks had Motor related ‘Finance Houses’ all with significant Branch networks and high staff numbers.
The names included Lombard, Mercantile Credit, Lloyds Bowmaker, United Dominions Trust, North West Securities, Chartered Trust, British Credit Trust, Security Pacific and General Guarantee. THE ‘Captive’ of the day was Ford Motor Credit and the market leader in terms of talent acquisition and Industry profile.
It then started to change. The Banks divested or shrank their networks, the major manufacturers reviewed their primarily Joint Venture relationships and created their own captive operations and the birth of the true independents took place.
Branches were closed, operations were centralised and the many began to shrink. Today’s Blackhorse is a result of the merger over time of Lloyds Bowmaker, Chartered Trust and United Dominions Trust.
Mercedes Benz, BMW, Toyota, Renault, Peugeot/Citroen and VW built captive finance operations and the landscape changed beyond recognition.
Over the years a number of the larger UK Banks exited the market and a number of the International operators closed up and went home.
Today the market remains dominated by the captives and whilst some of our big banks remain strong in the sector it is now a market that is a fraction of the size it once was in people terms and exponentially larger in terms of balances financed.
The attraction of staff was always an issue and whilst the major players primarily “home grew” and invested significantly in in-house training and self-managed training colleges it meant there was always a ready supply of skilled personnel to feed the requirements of the sector.
As the landscape evolved and businesses exited the market the available pool of talent started to decline and following on from the financial crisis this pool of available talent has shrunk even further.
Centralisation has also played a defining role because with only a few exceptions credit, risk and operations skills have become almost entirely regional with hotbeds in South Wales, Milton Keynes, and the Thames Valley. Historically those skills were available across the UK because of the Branch-based structures that existed.
With the closure of the branches the sales population has also shrunk and during difficult economic times sales forces were not built and grown.
Today the motor finance market is vibrant with Challenger Banks and Private Equity organisations looking to break in. The overarching issue has become the volume and price of the available talent. The price to attract is now at the highest it has been for many years and the size of the skilled population the smallest it has ever been.
We only see the pace of change continuing and with the increased focus on digitalisation the skills gap will only widen.
The great news for the market is the widespread belief that point of sale dealer finance is on the decline and will be replaced by new world technologies appears to be as far away today as it has ever been.
Digital will clearly rapidly evolve in the sector but we appear to still need to visit dealers and physically touch our cars before we buy them and therefore the opportunities for face to face interaction are as strong as ever.
The new world of motor finance professionals will have to be recruited and trained and rather than coming from related financial services markets as they did in the past they will now come from automotive channels where digital technology has already been embraced and impacted the markets into which they sell.
Salespeople from these channels will have empathy and contacts with dealers already and they will have seen the significant changes and benefits that digital brings and will therefore be more receptive and relevant to work in this changing world.
We remain excited and passionate about motor finance the people challenges will continue as ever. However, we will be dealing with a totally different profile of candidate in the future. We will all have to learn new skills and challenge conventional wisdom and that will make the challenge more interesting and more rewarding.