MTF gears up for drop in demand

Angus Bradshaw.
Angus Bradshaw.
Motor Trade Finances is preparing for higher interest rates and lower consumer demand by offering new products and outlets to meet expectations, managing director Angus Bradshaw says.

The Dunedin-based motor finance company reported a profit before commission and other gains of $20.7 million for the six months ended March, up 9% on the $19.05 million reported in the previous corresponding period.

Commission paid to shareholders increased 10% to $15.6 million.

Sales increased 30% to $200.9 million in the period, reflecting increased market share and an increase in franchises from 30 to 33, Mr Bradshaw said.

Unrealised loss on fair value of financial instruments was $800,000, against a gain of $1.9 million in the pcp, to give a reported profit of $3 million.

The underlying profit, which removed the volatility of unrealised fair value movements, was $3.3 million compared with $3.5 million.

Operating expense, including bad debt, as a percentage of assets under administration, remained at 2.9%.

Mr Bradshaw said interest rates would continue to rise in the next 12 months in line with increasing consumer and business confidence, perhaps dampening demand for motor vehicle funding.

''MTF will target greater market share through increasing outlets offering MTF products and by offering products at prices that meet customer expectations.''

The past six months had seen the delivery of technology improvements that provided a strong growth platform for the medium term, he said.

Among benefits MTF provided to its loan originators were industry-leading finance and insurance products, digital marketing support that returned the customer to the originator, and a range of daily performance measurements enabling benchmarking and daily sales and credit performance measurements.

Customers had web access to account information.

Increasing regulation had become a challenge for the finance industry and MTF was using technology to ensure customers and originators were aware of their rights and obligations.

Customers could be confident products and services provided met their expectations throughout the terms of the relationship, Mr Bradshaw said.

Administration expense increased 11%, pushed upwards by legal fees incurred in defending proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission, he said.

The trial in the proceeding was held in November 2012 and judgement was delivered in September last year.

The court rejected the commission's claim MTF failed to make proper disclosure of components of credit fees payable under the loan contracts, Mr Bradshaw said.

The court also rejected the commission's claim the labels MTF used for establishment and account maintenance fees were misleading and deceptive in breach of the Financial Transactions Act.

The court decided some fees charged under the loan contracts were ''unreasonable'' under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act.

''The judge called for the parties to discuss quantification and to make further submissions to the court. MTF has lodged an appeal against that aspect of the judgement.''

Mr Bradshaw said the board and management were confident technology, secure funding and a focus on service to customers and originating shareholders put MTF in a position to meet the expectations of all stakeholders.

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