The previously flourishing economy has taken some dramatic turns in the last few months due to the health and economic fallout from the global Covid-19 virus. Many industries, including auto lending and financing, have seen a shift in demand. Due to economic uncertainty, many individuals are putting off the risk of making major expenses in the wake of this pandemic.
Consumer confidence is relatively low compared to the last 3-5 years . The current strain of the pandemic on the economy has seen many would-be car buyers postpone on making the purchases.
J.D Power recently revised its prediction that car sales could see up to a 3 million unit decline this fiscal year. Although the slow down in car sales is inevitable, carmakers and sellers have come up with new servicing tools to cushion and attract more car buyers amidst this Covid-19 pandemic. Below is a compilation of the best paths car buyers can use to secure auto financing in 2020.
Coronavirus Car Payment Programs and Plans
To the relief of consumers looking to buy a vehicle amidst this pandemic, most of the major car manufacturers have rolled out favorable car payment plans. These plans have been devised to cushion individuals whose income has been terminated or is threatened by the ongoing health crisis.
On the other hand, car manufactures are keen to avoid the double-whammy of increasing car repossessions and plunging new car sales. Despite the history of car sales recovering in time, car makers cannot wait for tides to turn because of the current high economic uncertainty. Below are some of the most comprehensive and aggressive car payment plans that major carmakers have devised in favor of new car buyers.
- GM is currently offering certain models with 0 percent financing for 84 months. The deal gets even better as car buyers can defer payments for as much as 120 days. All GM customers are eligible for a 3GB in-car Wi-Fi package.
- Ford is also offering to cover the first three months of payments in a six-month payment relief plan. Payments can be deferred for 90 days and the purchase of new cars is available online.
- For ‘well-qualified customers’ making their payments through special APR, Nissan is offering a 90-day payment deferral plan to new customers. The carmaker is offering a 0 percent financing deal on select models.
- Hyundai said it will cover a total of six-month payment for car buyers who lose their jobs or income due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The offer is available for customers leasing or buying new cars.
- Lexus and Toyota will allow its customers to defer payments for 90 days although the interests will continue to accrue during the deferral period.
- Customers looking to buy Honda cars will get as much as $1000 off while Acura buyers can expect $500 off.
- Subaru customers have no payment deferral option but can expect a 0 percent financing plan with qualifying credit.
Coronavirus to Cause Delayed Deliveries
The global supply chain has suffered great disruption caused by the pandemic. New car buyers should expect a delay in the delivery of their purchased cars. Supplier factory closures in countries like China could see even the yet to close manufacturers experience delays in operations.
Are Car Dealers Currently Open?
Even in localities with strictest policies, car dealerships are not being asked to close. But some car dealers may opt to voluntarily close shop due to the risk of employee infection. Vehicle leasing and rentals, as well as car service and parts businesses, were included in the list of essential services exempted from closure orders. Car sales can still be operated under strict health precautions.
Does Buying A New Or Used Car Put the Buyer at Risk of Infection?
No. There have been no specific reports linking significant risk of infection or exposure arising from the purchase of new cars. However, consumers should take precautions such as using face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing protocols. Generally speaking, in this climate it is wise to be considerate of others who may be at a higher risk than you.
With many dealerships adapting to the coronavirus situation by offering contactless car buying and favorable financing options, now would be a great time to purchase a new vehicle. Not that you won’t face some hurdles along the way, but the current storm has created great opportunities and offers such as home delivery and competitive car loans.
CAN TECHNICAL INNOVATION HELP FINANCIAL SERVICES FIGHT BACK AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIME?
By Charlie Roberts, Head of Business Development, UK, Ireland & EU at IDnow
It’s no secret that the financial services sector is a top target among cyber criminals. In fact, according to a report from IBM, it retained its top spot as the most targeted sector in 2019.
The consequences of falling victim to an attack can be severe too. It can lead to financial losses and reputational damage as well as loss of customer confidence and therefore sales. One UK financial services firm, for example, was hit by a total loss of $87.9 million.
So, if we consider that the coronavirus crisis continues to drive increased online consumer activity, should financial services be more concerned? Simply put, yes.
We are seeing a significant increase in organisations taking their business online to reach their customers. Banks, for example, in adapting to COVID-19, are offering customers a more convenient way of opening an account given branch visiting restrictions. But while these services offer more choice and ease for customers, it also means that new account fraud is opening up and is becoming a major challenge for organisations to overcome.
Some cyber criminals are even trying to exploit the pandemic as an opportunity for financial crime by posing as trusted organisations like banks and even the World Health Organisation. According to Action Fraud, over £6.2 million has reportedly been lost by UK citizens to coronavirus-related scams. And this figure continues to rise week by week.
The role of innovation
The rise in financial crime shows just how much the financial services sector is in need of technological innovation. We’ve already seen great progress. About half of financial services and insurance firms globally already use Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to Forrester.
It has many use cases too. In a recent report published by The Alan Turing Institute, AI is largely being used for fraud detection and compliance. AI is beneficial because its algorithms can analyse millions of data points to detect fraudulent transactions which could otherwise go unnoticed by humans. What’s more, these AI-driven fraud detection systems can now actively learn and calibrate in response to new potential (or real) security threats.
The report also details some of the ways that financial services companies are exploring AI-based fraud prevention alternatives. It includes the use of AI to increase approvals for genuine transactions and the use of real-time and high volume data to help protect schemes, financial institutions and their customers from fraud and financial crime.
It’s perhaps no wonder that, outside of the technology sector, the financial services industry is the biggest spender on AI services according to The Bank of the Future report from Citi. But there is still some way to go in using technology to combat financial crime.
The identity verification era
Arguably, identity verification is one of the most important processes that technology can help transform – especially as the current crisis continues to drive increased online customer behaviour. In fact, AI and video based identity verification software can provide financial services organisations with a fast, seamless and secure onboarding process that increases conversion rates and customer satisfaction while providing the highest level of security.
Demand for this software in the UK’s financial services sector has already more than doubled since the start of the year, as growth in scams linked to COVID-19 continue to rise.
It’s this technology that will become critical in validating a person’s identity quickly and confidently while limiting the increased risk of fraud for both businesses and consumers.
IDnow’s AutoIdent is one software solution that has this year been experiencing high demand from the financial services industry. Its AI technology can use the camera on a customer’s smartphone to recognise the country and type of ID document without the need for user input. The technology then captures the machine-readable part of the ID document as well as non-machine-readable areas, such as address fields, before automatically checking the optical security features of the ID documents, such as holograms.
With the subsequent biometric video check of the person and “liveness detection”, the identification process is completed for the customer within just a few steps. The system can then decide if the identification is valid, with a reliability that meets compliance requirements.
The threat of financial crime is not going away any time soon and so there is no better way than to fight back with innovation. With the right technology investment, such as in AI identity products, the sector will be in a stronger position to support businesses who have a duty of care to protect their customers from risk of fraud while ensuring they remain resilient during this pandemic.
TOP 5 LINKEDIN PROFILE OPTIMIZATION HACKS FOR ASPIRING BANKERS
According to Firmex, finance professionals cannot afford to be not on LinkedIn. A significant number of organizations acquire talent in the financial industry through LinkedIn.
Especially for aspiring professionals, your internet presence matters a lot as recruiters are most likely to search your name on the internet before making a decision about your application.
As an aspiring banker on a professional platform, you should consider changing the outlook of your profile, to garner the recruiter’s attention. Your profile is unlikely to get noticed if it is out-of-date and inaccurate.
Here’s how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile:
Here’s an example of a good headline for a banker:
“Aspiring Banker majored in finance specializing in forecasting and risk management best practices”.
Scrolling through most professional profiles for bankers on LinkedIn, these individuals pay little attention to the headline.
A well-optimized headline gives the recruiters reasons to click on a profile. Though you just have 120 characters to make it great and charm the recruiter.
You can include pointers on what you are trying to achieve as a banker, or include your major as a way of connecting the skills-gap. If you are an MBA degree holder, then you can reflect this on your headline along with the major.
Though here are a few things you should know about creating a headline:
- Be professional and avoid writing words like “superstar worker”, “top performer”, etc.
- Be discreet with your job search, don’t directly mention “looking for a job”, “unemployed”, etc.
- Research on other professional’s headlines with a network presence.
- Include the usage of strong adjectives/action verbs.
On LinkedIn, develop meaningful connections with professionals and recruiters. With little effort, you can significantly increase your number of connections.
However, having 5000+ connections is not valuable if they are irrelevant to your interests. Hence, keep your connections limited to professionals in the finance industry.
- Connect with individuals that are relevant in the finance industry and send a personalized message along with the connection request.
- You are most likely to get ignored if you mindlessly send out requests. Though LinkedIn advocates being active, you should derive an invitation strategy for effective network expansion.
- Message recruiters that are hiring professionals in the finance industry and ask them for advice on how you can further optimize your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile works as a digital resume. It should give an idea of a constructive career progression. Hence, LinkedIn profile optimization becomes quite important.
- Write points in a bullet form, don’t include long paragraphs.
- Mentioning your roles and responsibilities isn’t ideal. Construct the points in a way that showcase all your accomplishments & contributions.
- Add your projects separately; do not add them in the career highlights section.
As with any other search engine, recruiters are dependent on the algorithm to show them the best profile as per their searches. Based on a certain set of relevant keywords in your industry, recruiters will try to search for candidates on LinkedIn.
Here’s how you can use keywords to optimize your profile:
- Research: Thoroughly research the keywords that are of prime importance in the finance industry. Check the profiles of other professionals on LinkedIn and refer job postings to gain an understanding of how to sprinkle these keywords in your profile.
- Section: Utilize each section efficiently of your LinkedIn profile to showcase your contributions and achievements. Don’t just stuff your profile with contextual keywords. In the end, your profile should foremost be easily readable.
- Industry and Skills: Update the industry in your profile and include all the skills you are familiar with. Further, you can even include skills that you are not familiar with. Let’s say you need to include “Budget Forecasting” in your profile and you have not had any real-life experience with it. You may write it as “Interested in gaining experience in budget forecasting”.
Skills & Recommendations
Recruiters look for professionals who can deliver, hence your profile should include the skills that are highly relevant to your targeted profile. Though in the banking industry recruiters search for general skills as well. So, make sure your profile is a match for both.
Further, just listing your expertise is not going to be enough. Get your mentors, employers, etc. to write you a stellar recommendation. If you provide credibility for your skills then it can do wonders for you.
- Just as the headline of your profile, your picture is equally important. Make sure you use a professional-looking photograph.
- Continue to engage with your connections through comments and professional messaging.
As you are a banking professional, your profile is probably going to end up looking like all about your core competencies, However, it is important to include a few pointers about your hobbies that describe your personality as well.
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