The car loans market has a new player after First Citizen Finance announced it will finance car purchases through motor dealerships across the country.
The company is led by the former chief executive of Permanent TSB Finance Limited, Chris Hanlon, and has a number of international lenders backing it, including Deutsche Bank.
First Citizen was formed 12 months ago by Mr Hanlon and colleagues from the former management team of Permanent TSB Finance with the aim of entering the car finance market.
“It has been our ambition to be able to provide finance for new and used car purchases and we have achieved that goal ahead of schedule. Ultimately, we aim to grow First Citizen to become the largest consumer finance company in Ireland,” he said.
Car sales in Ireland have collapsed from the average of 170,000 between 1997 and 2007. The current number of cars sold is less than half that at just 75,000.
The car finance market has collapsed even further, falling by 70% to a market valued at about €1.1bn.
Mr. Hanlon said that First Citizen hoped to capture 15% of this combined market. He expressed confidence that the market will return to growth over the coming years as the car population continues to age and the economy moves into recovery.
Car finance is not the only market that First Citizen has been involved in. For the last year, the company has been managing loan books in the agri, motor and personal finance sectors, including managing the loan book of the former Permanent TSB Finance business
The company also offered a range of services to a number of large financial services companies including asset management and the collection and recovery of assets.
In its new business, First Citizen will provide accreditation for motor dealers and give them access to the company’s automated proprietary processing system for car finance applications, Autoline.
First Citizen will also take over the sponsorship of Auto Ireland Buyers' Guide which Permanent TSB Finance had sponsored for the last 19 years. The guide is available in digital form and is hoped to prove to be an invaluable tool in maintaining contact with thousands of former customers. It will be available online at www.firstcitizen.ie
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