Going for gold in motor finance

For the past month I’ve found myself increasingly caught up in the Olympics, and specifically with Britain’s successful indoor cycling team.

The nature of the sport, which involves using your opponent’s slipstream, both to save energy and build up speed is both extremely fast paced and tactical, while the fact people are riding bikes makes overtaking seem more skilful. I find this great to watch though, of course it probably helps that every British team member who competed in the Rio Olympic Velodrome won a medal, much to the chagrin of some of the rival nations.

As this has pretty much dominated my thinking for the past couple of weeks, I’ve naturally found myself relating these races to motor finance subconsciously.

There is an interesting dynamic in Olympic sports where people who usually compete against each other in individual sports suddenly become colleagues in ‘Team GB’. In much the same way, this industry is a competitive one, where lenders have to balance ease of use and competitive rates with the need to be thorough and cover the cost of risk. It’s only going to become more competitive as private car sales slow down (a slowdown which has already begun, according to the SMMT).

Yet, in the same way as Team GB athletes compete with each other and work together, the industry also needs to cooperate on a number of issues. In the case of the FCA, the industry did a really good job of disseminating information to each other, to brokers and to dealers as to their interpretation of what the FCA wanted, and in the case of the FLA, things like the MARS forum are testament to this industry. Hopefully this will continue even if the competition becomes fiercer in the future.

A second link is that the key to cycling success appears to be a mixture of personal skill working alongside technical developments. British cycling has made no secret about the fact it had secretly developed rider clothing and equipment in order to shave seconds off the clock. In the same way successful lenders and brokers need to marry technology with good staff. It’s all well and good having the best lending technology on the market, but if you’re partners aren’t up to scratch, or your customer support team aren’t helping customers sufficiently when they run into trouble, this could cause serious issues down the line. Technology is obviously important as well, and so it would appear wise to invest in both.

These are just two parallels between Olympic cycling and motor finance. Are few other thought’s I’ve had while watching the Games are:

The equipment these cyclists are riding is all custom-made, with the bikes worth thousands of pounds alone. I wonder what the residual values on these things will be.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has lost so much public trust with its weakness in the face of apparent widespread doping, and this has damaged brand ‘Rio 2016’ a great deal. With the FCA, headlines of firms paying multimillion pound fines almost became the norm in 2014 and 2015. While I’m sure a number of firms are pleased to see those becoming less common, the apparent effects of having a weak regulator (in this case the IOC) are there to see – empty seats have been notable in most Olympic events.

That’s it from me this month. Next month the Olympics will be over, and I’ll be back to normal. Until then, however, I will continue to watch replays of Jason Kenny’s keirin event final, complete with two restarts.