Dealer Direct is a retail financing division developed by First Community Bank, based out of Batesville, Arkansas. Over the past few years, the company has added a few powersports OEM partners to its lineup. Dealer Direct offers prime financing on ATVs, side-by-sides, motorcycles, boats, motors, lawn mowers, up to 75 hp tractors, golf cars, electric low-speed vehicles and trailers.
Senior editor Liz Keener recently caught up with Jon Vestal, who works in national sales for First Community Bank/Dealer Direct, to learn more about the company.
Powersports Business: Tell me a little bit about Dealer Direct and how it got started.
Jon Vestal: The dealer program began in 2005 as a result of a local zero-turn mower manufacturer needing help with floorplan and retail financing. The program has grown exponentially since then, with dealers across all lower 48 states.
PSB: What about the powersports industry appealed to Dealer Direct?
JV: The powersports industry is a complimentary market segment to the farm and garden segment in which we started. Many of our dealers sold both zero-turn mowers and powersports equipment. In addition, there were many manufacturers that needed consumer financing to grow their business.
PSB: What sets Dealer Direct apart from other retail lenders in the powersports space?
JV: Dealer Direct combines the speed and technology of a national finance company with the individualized attention and customer service of a community bank. A loan officer handles each application that comes in and makes a credit decision. This gives us the opportunity to maximize the number of approvals.
PSB: Which OEMs have you partnered with?
JV: Spartan Mowers, Intimidator UTVs, ODES UTVS, HISUN, ARGO XTV, Bennche, Bad Boy Mowers, Tomberlin, ParCar and Flambeau.
PSB: Tell us about your dealer network.
JV: Dealer Direct adds new dealers every day across the nation. Dealer Direct is proud to service our dealer network and partner OEMs.
PSB: What do OEMs and dealers like about working with Dealer Direct?
JV: OEMs and dealers alike enjoy our competitive interest rates. Dealers like the fact that we finance new and used units. Our standard rates include the ability for the dealer to earn up to 2 percent of the financed amount through administrative fees.
PSB: What benefits do you offer consumers that will make them glad their dealer chose Dealer Direct?
JV: Personal customer service is the number one benefit a consumer has when they have a loan with Dealer Direct. In addition, there is no pre-payment penalty, and we keep all the loans that we originate. So, a consumer doesn’t have to worry about their lender changing throughout the course of the loan. In addition to great service, we offer competitive rates.
PSB: What types of consumers are you financing?
JV: We are a prime lender and finance consumers with a FICO credit score of 650 and higher.
PSB: What are plans for 2017?
JV: Continue to help our manufacturers and dealers grow their business by offering quality consumer financing. We are looking for additional OEMs to partner with in the powersports space. On the dealer side, continue to educate our dealers on our benefits.