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Industry Leaders Discuss Market at 12th Annual NAF Conference

June 6, 2008

Fort Worth, Texas — The National Automotive Finance (NAF) Association held its 12th Annual Non-Prime Auto Financing Conference in Fort Worth from June 4-6. By all accounts, this year's conference was a resounding success.

"Registrations increased over last year's," said Jack Tracey, the association's executive director, "Probably due, at least in part, to our reduction of the registration fee in light of economic factors that reduced travel budgets."

State of the market

"The conference is always planned by our members who work in the industry," Tracey said. "This year, the sagging economy is on everyone's mind, so the program responded to that concern."

The conference's keynote speaker was Dr. Bernard L. Weinstein of the University of North Texas' Institute of Applied Economics. Dr. Weinstein started off the program with a review of current economic forces and whether or not the economy is in recession. He pointed to falling employment, declining industrial production and price inflation, among other signs, but said, "We will survive this."

Session 8, titled "State of the Non-Prime Industry," also focused on today's economy. Jim Bass, NAF Association treasurer, facilitated a panel made up of: Mark Floyd, AmeriCredit; Dan Leonard, Triad; and Tommy A. Moore, Jr., First Investors Financial Services Group, Inc. Panel members saw consumers struggling with underemployment and the resulting loss of income as a major concern. All agreed that a focus on fundamentals is essential and expressed the willingness to work with customers who are willing to pay. Building relationships and working together to find efficient dealers were among the strategies mentioned.

Panel members ranged from somewhat optimistic to not very

optimistic about current conditions and feel the credit markets are in recession. They do not see conditions resulting in shorter terms, but probably preventing a greater move to 84-month terms. Moving forward, panelists suggested looking for efficiency, profitability and portfolio quality.

Panels and individual presenters kept those in attendance updated on market conditions, changes and innovations. Amy Martin of

Standard & Poor's, for example, was cautiously optimistic about auto-backed securitizations. The conference topics this year focused more on operations and less on marketing.

Upcoming study

The NAF Association's Annual Non-Prime Automotive Financing Survey, conducted by outside consultant, BenchMark Consulting International, is underway and will be published this summer. Preliminary results, presented during the association's annual meeting, indicate increases in new contract volume and portfolio sizes and a slight increase in credit quality. Negative trends seem to continue regarding repossession rates and losses. Information is still being tabulated.

NAF Association news

NAF announced that twenty-one companies have joined the association during the past year:


Access Capital Investment Group

Becker Law Firm, PA

Carolina Finance LLC

Costco Auto Program

CreditMax LLC

Cypress Software Systems

Dealer Funding LLC

Exeter Finance Corp.

First Investors Financial Services

Global Debt Exchange

Guardian Warranty Corp.

LexisNexis Risk & Information Analytics Group

Miles, Bauer, Bergstrom & Winters, LLP

Nomis Solutions


Santander Consumer USA/Drive

Southside Financial Group

Surge Capital

Teletrack Inc.

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