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A Culture of Continuous Improvement at Every Level

David Holmes provides a firsthand look into State National’s long-term growth and development culture.

My firsthand experience helping develop State National's learning culture.

Every learning professional hopes to be part of that rare organization that recognizes and lives a learning culture. When I walked into State National over a decade ago, I was at a point in my career where I eagerly wanted to be part of that elusive culture of improvement. I had been in positions of learning leadership but felt that upper management had those positions because a company is supposed to have them. This was different, it felt different, and I could tell from every individual I engaged with that State National was committed to a culture of learning.

While interviewing, I met not only the Human Resources team but also several executive leadership and sales leaders. After my final training presentation for the interview team, the CEO came in and kicked everyone out of the room. Lonnie Ledbetter and I talked for about 30 minutes. His strong belief in a learning culture was evident, and so was his desire for individuals to carry that vision forward within State National.

Lonnie and I have had several conversations over the years but I will never forget that first one. His message to me was one of growth and constant learning by all employees. Lonnie emphasized the importance of this position as one that moves the entire company forward through instilling a culture of growth and knowledge.

Having trained virtually everyone in the organization at one time or another, I always assure team members that learning is not only expected at State National but is also highly rewarded. New associates enter the organization with a clear message that everyone helps each other and that the client is first and foremost in every action we take. Accuracy is critical in providing a quality solution to our clients, but making a mistake is a learning moment as well. The culture of continuous improvement — both in our business and in ourselves as associates — is one aspect that sets the State National team apart from the competition.

David Holmes
David Holmes
David Holmes has held the position of Director of Learning and Development at State National for 12 years. In this time, he has been able to build a learning culture and expand the sense of “customer first” throughout the company. David focuses on employee skill-building and preparing associates to grow and advance within the organization. He and his team are responsible for all aspects of business, service, and leadership training within State National.

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Stretch Yourself From ‘Exist’ to ‘Grow'

A New Workout: STATE NATIONAL'S TRAINING DEPARTMENT OFFERS SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW YOU CAN STRETCH YOURSELF FROM ‘EXIST’ TO ‘GROW’ In 2020 and for at least part of 2021, many of us went into “Exist” mode with our lives. How can we push past this? Exist When you look back on your life, you will probably not find many times where you have had to slide back into just the basics. Our mindset and our habits changed. This extended period played tricks on us and changed how we see things. So what do we do to break out? Inquire & Interact We can begin by having brief conversations, then meetings with family and friends and eventually coworkers. Challenge yourself to make “Inquire & Interact” an active part of your day. Reach out to colleagues and friends whom you have not reached out to in a long time. Ask about how they and their families are, and how are they approaching work. Engaging with one another is a basic and fundamental component of human existence. The more you interact on a daily basis, the quicker you will become stronger and more confident. Grow It may take some time, but eventually you will find that these inquires and interactions are actually helping you expand yourself. Maybe you already used time during the pandemic to grow personally, by baking bread, losing weight, or taking on a new hobby. As your confidence grows, the desire and need to grow professionally will come to the forefront. Think: How can you propel your skills? How can you work toward a promotion? How can you be a better asset to your employer, your family, your community, and yourself? Reach out to find ideas and assistance from colleagues and mentors, seek training in the form of books, classes, and online workshops, and look for areas where you want to learn more and GROW!

How Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) Mitigates the Risk Caused by Record High Auto Prices

Now, more than ever, it is critical to protect your auto loan portfolio with GAP Vehicle values have been at historic highs for the past year If you considered purchasing a vehicle this summer, you likely experienced some degree of sticker shock. New and used vehicle prices skyrocketed earlier in 2021 and are only now showing signs of a slight slowdown. How did we get to the point where Edmunds.com reported the average trade-in value of used vehicles was up 75.6% Year-Over-Year (YOY) in June? Simply stated, it all began last year. The manufacturing shutdowns of early 2020 left dealers with low inventory levels as shelter-in-place orders lifted and consumers, armed with stimulus funds and a desire to spend, went auto shopping in droves. The resulting low dealer inventories meant that would-be new car buyers were often forced to consider used vehicle options instead. Both new and used vehicles prices started rising in response to this unusual surge in demand. Despite seeing some stabilization of vehicle pricing in late 2020, things took a turn for the worse this year due to the global shortage of microchips. According to TrueCar, a Consumer Reports partner, there still remains an inadequate allocation of microchips for automobile manufacturers, exacerbating the inventory shortages that began in 2020. With inventory down as much as 50% in some areas, willing and able consumers are paying significantly more, with 20% of all new car purchases in May 2021 transacting at amounts above MSRP. This phenomenon has not been limited to new car purchases only — CNBC shared earlier this month that the average price of a used vehicle was up 21% YOY with a 10% increase from Q1 2021 to Q2 2021. What does the future hold for car values? July witnessed a slight reduction in the rate at which vehicle prices were increasing YOY. However, Carvana’s CEO, Ernie Garcia, warns that the cost of used cars will not normalize until manufacturers can produce inventory at pre-2020 levels. Supply chain challenges are likely to cause “some lasting” impact on used car prices, said Garcia on an August 6th CNBC’s Squawk Box. Black Book, in their 2021 Vehicle Depreciation Report, paints a slightly less optimistic picture, projecting “residual forecasts to return to pre-COVID 19 valuation levels in 3 years.” How will this valuation normalization impact lending portfolios? For a variety of reasons, many consumers found themselves paying in excess of MSRP or NADA for a vehicle over the past 18 months. This reality will not change overnight — it will take the automobile manufacturers replenishing and maintaining inventory levels on a consistent basis for prices to normalize. Whether that be in 2022, or in 3 years as predicted by Black Book, the reset of vehicle valuations has the potential to negatively impact your auto loan portfolio. Black Book’s annual vehicle depreciation rates averaged approximately 13% for each of the 9 years prior to 2020, when it dropped to just 2%. As vehicle valuations fall back in line with more historic depreciation models, loans already on the books as well as loans written through the remainder of 2021 will reflect inflated sales prices. In the event of a future theft or total loss at a time when vehicle values are back to pre-COVID-19 levels, primary carrier Actual Cash Value (ACV) settlements will result in unprecedented deficiency balances. And that is where GAP can help. Essential protection for you and your borrowers GAP has always been an important risk management tool. However, in today’s economy when vehicles are still selling above MSRP or NADA, it is especially important to lenders and borrowers alike for collateral to be protected against the changes in valuation expected over the next several years. Private Passenger Auto carriers settle total loss claims based on the ACV of the vehicle immediately prior to the loss, regardless of the original sales price. Inflated sales prices mean inflated loan balances on the date of loss, resulting in increased deficiency balances — the exact thing GAP is designed to protect. Not only will your potential charge-offs be reduced with GAP protecting your collateral, but your borrowers will also be better positioned to finance their replacement vehicle without the burden of having to satisfy a large deficiency balance on their original loan. How State National's GAP is different The State National GAP product provides unparalleled flexibility in the marketplace, primarily given our unique position as the direct sales force, underwriter, and program administrator. With options to protect amounts up to 150% of MSRP or NADA, you won’t need to worry about future deficiency balances resulting from today’s extraordinary market conditions. Additionally, you can rest easy knowing your pricing is not inflated to cover agent costs or, worse yet, that you will be part of an across-the-board rate adjustment because another lender’s program is not performing as expected. If you’re looking for the most efficient GAP claim submission process (it’s true — we really do not require any supporting documentation to initiate a GAP deficiency balance claim) and fastest claim settlement time (2 to 3 days, on average), isn’t it time you consider State National for your GAP Program? Contact us today to start protecting your consumer loan portfolio from the effects of inflated auto prices — driving a more positive experience for you and your borrowers.     Contact us today to receive more information about GAP from State National. Francine Gagliano, State National Director of Client Services 817-265-2000 x1247 or fgagliano@statenational.com

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State National Employees Crowdsource to Give Their Company Blog a Name When we launched our State National blog in 2020 as part of our company’s newly redesigned website, we had a few goals in mind: To provide valuable thought leadership and educational content that could be of help to our clients, potential clients, and anyone else in the industry whether they ever became a client or not To add even more transparency (one of our main core values) around the way we do business To help others in the industry get to know more about the thoughts and insights of some of our experienced subject matter experts and assist in building relationships To share more about the company culture we’re very proud of with those in the industry and with potential future employees And of course (speaking of transparency), because we are in business — to share benefits and features of our products and services and show credit unions, banks, and finance companies how we can serve them and help them be more profitable and successful The blog has been a great success so far, and we’ve received really positive feedback about the value people are receiving from our content — thank you!