Patrick Fitzgerald founded our parent company, Fleet Financial, in 2006. The original business model was created to finance company fleet vehicles with credit union partners, offering customers who drove company vehicles in a less expensive way to own them once their leases were up.
Patrick had a strong background in the automotive finance market, with experience in both direct and indirect lending. He also had an extensive working knowledge of the independent and franchise auto industry, both on the retail and wholesale sides.
With the financial crash of 2007, the fleet business was changing, and fleet managers were holding onto their inventory, electing to ride out the financial market storm. Record low-interest rates became a by-product of the market, and Patrick recognized an opportunity to adjust his business model to adapt to the changing marketplace.
While Patrick and his team continued to offer off-lease and fleet vehicles directly to the consumer at wholesale prices through Fleet Financial, he evolved the business model to what would become iLendingDIRECT: an online automotive financial solutions company that provides automotive refinancing to consumers in markets nationwide.
Tragedy struck in August 2014, when Patrick was killed suddenly in a bicycling accident. Patrick’s wife, Nancy, who had been working as part of the Fleet Financial team in a business development and marketing role, was suddenly at the helm of Fleet Financial. Her passion and determination to continue in Patrick’s footsteps with his vision and dreams propelled the company into a new period of marked record growth.
“I love that we truly help people when we refinance their auto loans. We take people from double digit to single digit interest rates. For our customer saving $100 a month on their auto loan, that could mean food on the table or catch up on their bills. One of my favorite stories is when we did a cash title loan for one couple, giving them $10,000 cash, and that enabled them to adopt a baby together.”
Nancy has served as the CEO of iLendingDIRECT since 2014. She has grown the company 15-30% each year since taking over the head leadership role, helping 13,000 families save over $1.5 million in monthly payments savings in 2017.
Under Nancy’s leadership and vision, iLendingDIRECT now employs over 150 people, is a multi-year winner in the Denver Business Journal Top Places to Work and has been named to the Inc. 5,000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.