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Auto loan customer Shyam A. Maharaj’s positive car-buying experience was part of an unprecedented year for Wells Fargo’s auto lending business in 2015.

Refinancing paves the road to savings — and a second car

Even over long distances and by phone, one-to-one service from a Wells Fargo team member helped this longtime customer in Florida make his vehicle wish come true.

March 17, 2016

Shyam A. Maharaj of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had put a lot of wear and tear on his sport utility vehicle, driving to house calls for his work as a physical therapist. Finally, after racking up a lot of miles, he decided it was time to get a second car to avoid wearing out the SUV.

As he shopped on the go between work appointments, Shyam realized he needed a ready source of information to help him find the best used car available.

That’s when Kyle Fleeger stepped in and made a difference.

The Wells Fargo auto-loan sales consultant helped at every step along the way, coordinated the loan application, checked on each vehicle’s value or background, and ultimately made sure Shyam’s pre-approval would cover the car he was considering, Shyam says.

“It was very convenient for me, given that I have these long hours and have to travel all over the place for my job,” he says. “It was great working with Kyle on the phone.”

At first, Shyam didn’t realize his Wells Fargo contact worked 2,300 miles away in Chandler, Arizona.

Shyam’s first priority, however, was to find a way to afford a second vehicle. So Kyle helped him refinance his SUV loan and save about $325 a month. Shyam says at first he didn’t even realize that Kyle worked 2,300 miles away in Chandler, Arizona.

“Kyle went above and beyond what I could have hoped for in dealing with my situation,” says Shyam, a Wells Fargo customer for nearly 30 years. “He took the time to research everything, and I knew he was really working hard on what I needed.”

Shyam’s experience was part of an unprecedented auto lending year for Wells Fargo, as the company originated $31 billion in auto loans in 2015, a 3.7 percent increase from 2014, making it the second-largest U.S. auto lender.

Wells Fargo’s surge in auto loans was fueled by a record year for U.S. vehicle sales and lower gas prices, which gave consumers more discretionary cash to spend, CEO John Stumpf said in a Jan. 15 earnings conference call.

“Wells Fargo originated a record number of auto loans during the year,” he said. “If gas prices continue to remain low, 2016 should be another strong year for the auto market.”

Best possible experience

The company has developed and expanded the way it reaches auto loan customers, including traditional sales, telephone support, and online communications, says John Rasmussen, head of Wells Fargo Personal Lending.

“The idea is to give customers the best possible experience,” he says. “And the effort has paid off with great results.”

Kyle says more customers like Shyam are using phone sales and support in the car-buying process.

“We put them in a position to have some fun in their shopping,” he says. “We empower them.”

Note: A version of this story also appeared in the 2015 Wells Fargo Annual Report (PDF).