| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 25 JPMorgan Chase & Co
named a new head of auto finance on Monday as the bank tries to
boost its lending in a red-hot area where it has lost market
share in recent years.
Thasunda Brown Duckett, 39, said in an interview that she
hopes to help the bank make profitable car loans without taking
too much risk by looking at factors that lenders may not have
traditionally considered in evaluating a borrower's ability to
pay. JPMorgan may find it is okay to lend to more customers with
lower scores, Duckett said.
Duckett replaces Marc Sheinbaum, whom the bank said had
"asked to pursue other opportunities." Sheinbaum told Reuters in
May 2011 that competition for auto loans had already come back
aggressively after retreating in the financial crisis, and that
lenders' margins were being squeezed.
He stopped short of saying that competitors were becoming
reckless in lending money to consumers who couldn't repay loans,
but JPMorgan Chase has given up market share in recent years.
Its auto loan balances rose just 3 percent between December 2010
and the end of 2012. Industry-wide, outstanding loans rose about
13 percent over that period to $719 billion, according to data
from consumer credit rating service Experian.
JPMorgan Chase is the biggest bank in the United States by
assets, but is only the fourth-biggest auto lender by Experian's
Sheinbaum did not return a call seeking comment on Monday.
The shift in leadership shows the needle that JPMorgan Chase
must thread as the auto lending market heats up. The bank, like
most lenders, is under pressure to boost profits, and staying
relatively cool on the auto loan market could result in the bank
lagging its rivals.
But in any lending cycle, some banks will eventually take
too many risks, whether it be on subprime mortgages that
triggered the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, or commercial
real estate that sapped the strength of banks in the early
Duckett, known in the bank as "T," said she believes there
are "opportunities for us to expand that credit box to be able
to help more customers."
To help build the bank's loan book, Duckett said she will
strengthen JPMorgan Chase's relationships with manufacturers and
with car dealers who can send customers to the bank.
She also plans to step-up marketing of car loans to people
who use JPMorgan products and its network branches. The company
has some 5,600 branches, the second-most of any U.S. bank.
She also hopes to capture some of the pent-up demand for new
cars from dependable customers who have put off financing
purchases until they were more confident about the economy.
Duckett was previously JPMorgan Chase's national retail
sales executive for mortgage banking, a post in which she
managed 4,000 employees.