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Upstart seeks to expand indirect auto lending business in Q2 and go national in Q3

Girouard reported Monday that Upstart facilitated the refinancing of more than 11,000 auto loans in the first quarter, nearly double the amount it processed in 2021. It also more than doubled the rate at which applicants for refi have been approved.

He said the company launched its first AI model for auto refinance, partially trained by Upstart’s own auto loan performance data. He described it as the beginning of the process of building the model Upstart sees as a core competitive advantage.

Borrowers who refinance auto loans through Upstart as of Jan. 1 have saved an average of $4,800 over the life of the loan, the company said.

Upstart, whose main business is currently personal loans, does not seek to be a lender itself. It makes money by routing offers to lenders who trust the company’s AI to check the creditworthiness of borrowers – and potentially help them win back customers whose risk has been misunderstood by a model of traditional subscription. Girouard said 11 of the company’s 57 lending partners in the first quarter had no minimum FICO score requirement.

Upstart’s underwriting decisions often require no human intervention. The company’s automated approval rate for all loan applications rose to 74% in the first quarter from 71% a year earlier.

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