LOS ANGELES — Subprime lender Westlake Financial Services has announced its expansion into the North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana markets. Westlake will now originate automotive loan contracts in a total of 34 states across the U.S. Originations from the three new markets will be accepted beginning Aug. 1.

“This expansion furthers our goal of increasing Westlake’s national footprint,” said Mark Vazquez, v.p. of sales. “It was a goal first stated when we entered Wyoming and Tennessee back in January. [The expansion is] a perfect opportunity to showcase our improved Platinum and Preferred programs, in addition to our flagship Standard program, still considered to be among the deepest in the industry.”

“We already have dealers calling us to establish business relationships,” said Richard Damschen, Westlake's marketing analytics and business strategy manager. “We look forward to providing North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana with Westlake’s industry-leading service.”

Westlake also announced the regionalization of its origination departments. “We wanted to bring the personal aspect back to the Dealer experience," said Ian Anderson, the lender's senior v.p. of production and business strategy. "Even though we have local reps in the field, dealers still contact our offices directly for certain issues, and we want that experience to be just as personal as their interaction with their local reps.”

Westlake’s origination departments consist of Marketing Operations, Sales, and Acquisitions. Each of these departments has been split into six teams, each servicing Westlake’s six U.S. regions (Pacific Northwest, West, Central, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and South East).

“When Dealers call our office, they will be speaking to a much smaller group of people on a consistent basis,” says Vazquez. “Dealers will get to know their Westlake team much better and it will feel much more like calling a local branch, rather than calling into a large corporate headquarters.”

North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana will be part of Westlake’s Central region. Westlake has targeted New Jersey as a future expansion state.