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Special Finance®

Delivering for the Mailman

July 2009, F&I and Showroom - WebXclusive

by Tariq Kamal

Staci Patch is the special finance manager at Karl Malone Toyota in Salt Lake City, one of 38 dealerships in the Larry H. Miller Group, the nation’s 10th-largest auto retailer. Like many other dealership professionals, Patch took a circuitous route to her current position. That journey included stops at two other stores as well as several years as a marketing executive at LHM’s subprime lending arm, Prestige Financial.

Her bosses are co-owners Andy Madsen — who also serves as general manager — and Karl “The Mailman” Malone, the NBA’s No. 2 all-time scorer, who was a perennial All-Star selection and earned two MVP awards in his 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz. Madsen says he depends on Patch and her years of experience to keep their special finance department humming.

“Staci’s the best,” Madsen says. “Because of her background, she performs.”

Both ends of the court

Patch’s first dealership job was an administrative position, assisting the head of the credit resource center (a.k.a. special finance department) at Larry H. Miller Chevrolet in Murray,Utah, near Salt Lake City.

“I learned everything on the job,” she says. “Everybody says I have the gift of gab. I love sitting down with customers, finding common ground and helping them out if I can. That approach works when you’re building relationships with banks, too.”

It wasn’t long before Patch heard that a Ken Garff Mitsubishi franchise across town was looking for a special finance manager. Although she had only been in the game a short time, she couldn’t pass up the chance to run her own department.

“I felt I deserved a shot,” she says now. “What I didn’t realize was that Garff was where my education would really begin. I had to learn how to form new relationships with lenders.” In her first few weeks on the job, Patch was visited by reps from several leading subprime finance sources. But as she got closer to building a workable lender spread, she couldn’t help but remember how well Prestige Financial had served her at the Chevy store.

At the time, in Utah, Prestige’s program was still only available to its parent company’s dealers. Patch was determined to persuade the lender to take a chance on her, and Garff Mitsubishi became the first non-LHM dealership in the state to join the Prestige program. She couldn’t have known at the time that her persistence would lead to an opportunity to cross over to the finance side of the business.

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