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20 Fellow Travelers Join RouteOne

April 14, 2003

Twenty automotive loan and lease companies have become participants in the RouteOne unified credit application system created last year by the Big 3 automakers and Toyota.

“We are so well along with our growth plan,” says RouteOne President and CEO Michael D. Jurecki, “that we have started to develop a national processing center in Chicago.” Jurecki added that “response to our venture has been beyond expectations and, in March, we signed on our first non-founder automaker lender Nissan Motor Acceptance and its Infiniti Financial Services subsidiary.”

As an inducement for dealers and their automaker financing divisions to use RouteOne, a no-fee policy is being maintained, Jurecki told F&I Management & Technology Magazine.

To integrate its credit management application system with those used previously by many dealers, RouteOne in March chose Electronic Data System’s DealerSphere network as a partner.

Jurecki, 44, a former Ford Credit operations director, declared that “dealers have been involved in the design of the RouteOne system every step of the way and integration of systems is something they have repeatedly asked for.”

Chairman of RouteOne’s 12-member board is GMAC’s executive vice-president for North America, John E. Gibson. Other directors representing the founders include Paul Knauss, DaimlerChrysler Services vice-president; Greg C. Smith, Ford Credit chairman, president and CEO; George Borst, Toyota Financial Services president and CEO; James D. Nelson, GMAC vice-president for sales and e-commerce; Christopher Travella, DaimlerChrysler Services vice-president and general counsel; and Richard C. Van Leeuwen, Ford Credit executive vice-president for global credit management.

RouteOne executives on the board, besides Jurecki, are COO Michael O. Webster; CFO Mary Cunningham, CIO Jose Gruber, and general counsel Daniel J. Doman.

GMAC, Ford Credit and DC Services each hold 30 percent of RouteOne’s stock, with Toyota possessing the remaining 10 percent.

Based in Southfield, Mich., RouteOne has been an idea long germinating as a vehicle for integrating proprietary systems that were confusing and costly when more and more dealers are multi-branded, Jurecki said. “Dealers were duplicating credit record and vehicle information searches when the applicant was one and the same because providers wanted to keep control of their own approval systems,” he told F&I. “The information was identical for each applicant, and it made no sense not to pool resources in a totally non-competitive area.”

Jurecki, who says “the people at RouteOne bring a wealth of experience and expertise to our business,” joined the newborn RouteOne project two years ago after a 20-year career with Ford Credit. He has a Masters Degree from Buffalo’s Canisius College and the University of Detroit-Mercy and a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University. Jurecki said RouteOne’s staff has reached the 100 mark as the company has added participants and continues to reach out to more banks and financing companies as participants.

The participant list includes DC Services and its affiliated Mercedes-Benz Credit; Ford Credit and its affiliates Jaguar Credit, Primus Financial Services, Triad Financial and Volvo Finance North America; GMAC and its affiliates Nuvell Credit and Saab Financial Services; Bank of America and Huntington National Bank; independent nonprime lenders Long Beach Acceptance Corp. and National Auto Finance; Toyota Financial Services and its affiliate Lexus Financial Services; and Nissan Motor Acceptance and its affiliate Infiniti Financial Services.

The Credit Online and DealerTrack systems announced their merger at the NADA convention in San Francisco, the same venue where still another credit processing startup was put into play by a group called Bankers Integration Group, whose organizers include former Ford Chairman and CEO Harold A. (Red) Poling and former Chrysler Corp sales executive vice-president Theodor Cunningham.

Bankers Integration Group, which said it signed up 747 dealers at the convention, plans to “pre-screen” applicants electronically by accessing all credit scoring bureaus as soon as applications are posted.

DealerTrack, based in Melville, N.Y., said it is adding more than 1,000 CreditConnection-served dealers to its 19,000-dealer base, including franchised and non-franchised independent dealers.

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