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Debis Affinity Stops Accepting Loan Applications

December 6, 2000

DaimlerChrysler Financial Services has pulled the plug on its Texas-based Debis Affinity Services Division.

The division stopped accepting auto credit applications on Dec. 7, cutting off about 1,500 dealers outside the DaimlerChrysler group of brands.

Dealers sold loans to Affinity Services just as they would to any other independent lender.

Affinity was launched in 1997 as part of the Mercedes-Benz Credit Corporation. It was designed to be Chrysler's version of Primus, the Ford Credit subsidiary that performs captive finance company functions for dealers of brands other than Ford or Lincoln Mercury.

The demise of Affinity leaves an opening for the major automakers' captive finance companies, which are additionally aided by factory incentives.

According to Debis' announcement, the company will honor "private label" contracts for another 90 days. For private-label customers, Debis acts under the customer's brand name. These customers include the Infiniti Division of Nissan; Daewoo; and exotic brands such as Lamborghini, Lotus and Panoz.

Even though it was a division of and belonged to DaimlerChrysler, Affinity Services, like banks and truly independent auto lenders, was in competition with factory incentives.

Affinity has just under $2 billion of receivables, which will be serviced elsewhere within DaimlerChrysler Financial Services, according to Tom McAlear, chief operating officer.

The parent company will offer jobs to all 64 employees of Roanoke, Texas-based Affinity, according to McAlear.

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