Lendbuzz Bloomberg Business interviews Car Loans Startup

Our Lendbuzz CEO and co-founder Amitay Kalmar recently sat down to speak on Bloomberg’s Baystate Business Hour talk show. Amitay spoke with Bloomberg about Lendbuzz’s origin and how we’re helping internationals get the cars they need in the US. You can listen to the full Lendbuzz Bloomberg interview and see the redacted transcript below.

Source: Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour

 

Peter Barns, Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour: Fintech is big in Boston. Here’s a company doing it: Lendbuzz. It offers car loans online mainly for foreign nationals in the US with what they call “thin credit.” And it’s not what you think. Lendbuzz just landed another $30 million in venture funding. Bringing total funds raised to $45 million. Joining us now with more on the company is co-founder and CEO Amitay Kalmar. And, Amitay, start first with telling us what “thing credit” is.

Amitay Kalmar, Lendbuzz CEO: So thin credit basically means that the person doesn’t have a credit file in the US. Or his credit file is not well developed or not deep enough for traditional banks to evaluate.

PB: And that’s probably the case with a lot of foreign nationals who come here to work. They might have their banking back home in their home country. And so you saw a market for helping them get car loans.

AK: Correct. These individuals are people that are well educated. They have great employment history back home, great earning potential in the US. But they come here and they do not have a credit file here in the US. Therefore their access to credit here is very challenging. So we focus on alternative data to evaluate their creditworthiness. So we can provide them with financing and basically get them a nice new car.

PB: Give us some more details on that, Amitay. You gather more information on these people and then you put together what amounts to a new credit history so you can then feel safe about lending them money?

AK: Correct. So instead of evaluating their credit history in the US, which is what most traditional banks do, we evaluate alternative data like their: educational background back home, their employment history back home, their financial profile both in their origin country and the US, their social profile. So we can evaluate their creditworthiness and therefore extend them credit.

PB: So that sounds like more work. That sounds like you’re going to have to charge them more for the insurance.

AK: What we try to do is be very competitive with traditional banks. Obviously, we’re going to be a bit more expensive. But it’s not going to be significantly more expensive. Our rates start at 4.9 and go up from there. It is more expensive that getting a car loan from Bank of America, for example, but not much more than that.

PB: We’re talking to Amitay Kalmar, co-founder and CEO of Lendbuzz. Which is doing online car loans for foreign nationals with what they call “thin credit” which means not much of a credit history here. So tell us about business. How many loans have you made? How many customers do you have?

AK: We funded over $25 million so far. And it’s been growing.

PB: Since 2015?

AK: We actually started extending loans on the end of 2016. So we co-founded the company end of 2015. It required a lot of development effort before we started originating loans. Most of the algorithms were built in the first year. And we keep improving and iterating on the models, actually every week. Every week we release a new set of algorithms for improving our existing algorithms. Growth has been great. We started here in Massachusetts, in the Boston area where the company is based. And both myself and Dan, my co-founder, are based. And now we’re extending to other states including California, Flori da, New York, New Jersey.

PB: Do you have competition?

AK: We don’t have much competition. Our competition is either subprime lenders who don’t take into account credit history as the major factor for underwriting but their rates are extremely high. And then a lot of people buy with cash today. Cash is always a competition to financing. But not a lot of companies do what we do.

PB: And just to clarify, you’re doing the marketing and customer acquisition piece of this, then you work with banks to provide the loans?

AK: So banks basically back us. We get the credit lines. We’re still the direct lenders. We actually still own the risk.

PB: What’s your loss ratio? If you’re using this to find people with good credit, is your loss ratio better or worse than commercial banks? Are you a bank?

AK: We’re not a bank. We’re not a depository institution. We’re an alternative lender. You see more and more of these online lenders like us, the very large ones like SoFi that focus on student loans but both them and US are not banks. We’re online lenders or alternative lenders.

PB: And your losses?

AK: Our losses are extremely low. They’re comparable to people with FICO of 750+. So that would be very good credit.

PB: Co-founder and CEO of Lendbuzz Amitay Kalmar. Thanks for coming in. Fascinating story.

 

We want to thank the Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour for having our CEO over for an interview.

 

Are you new to the US? Need a car loan? Lendbuzz can help you purchase the car you need. We offer competitive rates for international students, professionals, and expats. No credit score, social security number or co-signer needed. We help you through every step of the way. From applying from your home country to picking the right car for you. Apply online in minutes and get your rates today.

how to choose car insurance

A Guide on How to Get Car Insurance in the US for International Students

For international students and expats, the hardest part is over after choosing a lender and a car. But finding the correct car insurance coverage is also important. With so many details to take into consideration, you may be asking yourself: How do I get car insurance in the US? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

You may have begun to find the process of buying a car in the US difficult. Finding a lender that would approve you for a car loan without credit history or a SSN could pose a challenge. Fortunately, there are lenders such as Lendbuzz that specialize in helping internationals purchase cars in the US.

If you’re ready to buy a car in the US or have already bought a car, you should know the answer to the following questions.

What is car insurance? Why do I need it and how do I get it in the United States?

 

What is car insurance?

Your car insurance, also known as auto insurance, will be the group of policies that will protect you as a car owner and driver. If you get into a car accident, for example, your car insurance pays to fix your car.

Is car insurance mandatory?

Getting at least a minimum car insurance is mandatory in nearly every state in the US. So it’s definitely something you need to have. You might be wondering why car insurance is mandatory in the US if health insurance sometimes isn’t.

How does car insurance benefit me?

Getting a comprehensive car insurance policy will protect your car, yourself, and others in the event of a car crash or accident. Depending on the type of car insurance you chose, the amount of money you’ll pay out-of-pocket after accidents will vary.

How do I choose the right coverage?

Choosing car insurance can be an intimidating process. There is no single type of insurance. You can get different amounts of coverage. Additionally, car insurance is offered by hundreds of private companies nationwide. Since there is an overwhelming amount of choices, first you’ll need to know the types of coverage available.

 

What are the most common types of coverage?

Auto liability

This type of coverage will pay for damages if you’re responsible for injuring someone or damaging another car during a car accident. Auto liability includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Bodily injury liability: covers damages related to another person such as medical bills, lost wages from missing work, etc.

Property damage liability: covers damages to others due to loss of property.

Personal Injury Protection

This covers your own medical expenses for treatment needed due to a car crash.

Medical Payments

This covers medical and funeral bills resulting from a car crash.

Collision

This covers damages caused to the car by a crash collision.

Comprehensive

This covers damages to your car that are not caused by collisions. Such damages include natural disasters and theft.

Gap Insurance

This type of coverage is aimed at people who have financed or leased cars. If the driver gets into an accident and the car is totaled, gap insurance can cover the difference between the current value of the car and the amount owed.

 

Where can I get car insurance?

You can purchase car insurance from independent insurance agents, big national insurance companies, and direct insurance sellers. Your insurance rates will vary depending on your driving history record. Insurance agencies will take into consideration how many miles you’ll drive to work or school and if you’ve gotten into car accidents in the past. The type of car you drive will also affect your rates. Also, you can get discounts if your car is modified for safety. For example, do you have tracking devices or safety features installed?

choosing comparing car insurance in the us MagicQuote App

How can I compare car insurance providers?

You can request quotes and manually compare rates for car insurance providers by visiting their websites. You could also save time and use insurance comparison tools such as MagicQuote.

MagicQuote is an insurance comparison app that you can install on your mobile device. You can scan your driver’s license and input your car’s VIN number to bypass the lengthy quote application process.

Then, MagicQuote will ask you a few questions to determine which provider and what type of coverage is best for you. For example: Do you already have car insurance? How much coverage do you want? Who will be driving the car?

MagicQuote will then match you with insurance providers and show you several options along with their cost.

For those concerned with sustainability and leading an eco-friendly lifestyle, you’ll be pleased to hear that MagicQuote is a One Tree Planted partner. This means that for every insurance policy purchased through MagicQuote, a tree will be planted to help reduce vehicular carbon footprints.

 

If you need more information on how to get car insurance in the US, visit this post. There you’ll learn of all the documents required to get international student car insurance.