Nicholas Financial Inc  (NICK)
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Nicholas Financial Inc

Business Description

Nicholas Financial, Inc. is a Canadian holding company incorporated under the laws of British Columbia in 1986. The business activities of Nicholas Financial-Canada are currently conducted exclusively through its wholly-owned indirect subsidiary, Nicholas Financial, Inc., a Florida corporation (“Nicholas Financial”). Nicholas Financial is a specialized consumer finance company engaged primarily in acquiring and servicing automobile finance installment contracts (“Contracts”) for purchases of new and used automobiles and light trucks. To a lesser extent, Nicholas Financial also originates direct consumer loans (“Direct Loans”) and sells consumer-finance related products.

A second Florida subsidiary, Nicholas Data Services, Inc. (“NDS”), historically was engaged in supporting and updating industry-specific computer application software for small businesses located primarily in the Southeastern United States.

The Company’s principal goals are to increase its profitability and its long-term shareholder value through greater penetration in its current markets and controlled geographic expansion into new markets. The Company seeks to expand its automobile financing program in the eighteen states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin — in which it currently operates by increasing the business generated at its existing branch locations and by targeting certain geographic locations within some of these states where it believes there is a sufficient market for its automobile financing program. The Company’s strategy is to monitor these markets and ultimately decide if and where it will open additional branch locations. The Company is planning to open a branch in Pittsburgh by the end of the second quarter in fiscal 2017. Dealers in Wisconsin are serviced in our Gurnee, Illinois branch.

The Company consolidated two branch locations (Clearwater, FL and Birmingham, AL) into branches previously established within their market. The Company will continue to evaluate any branch locations that do not meet its minimum profitability targets and may elect to close one or more of these branches in the future. The Company also continues to analyze other markets in states in which it does not currently operate for expansion opportunities. The Company is also evaluating the organization and its structure. The Company’s decisions on how it plans to continue operating its business strategy will be influenced by the sustainability of some of its competitors’ underwriting and risk-based pricing. Although the Company has not made any bulk purchases of Contracts in over two decades, if the opportunity arises, the Company may consider possible acquisitions of portfolios of seasoned Contracts from dealers in bulk transactions as a means of further penetrating its existing markets or expanding its presence in targeted geographic locations. The Company cannot provide any assurances, however, that it will be able to further expand in either its current markets or any targeted new markets.

The Company’s typical customer has a credit history that fails to meet the lending standards of most banks and credit unions. Among the credit problems experienced by the Company’s customers that resulted in a poor credit history are: unpaid revolving credit card obligations; unpaid medical bills; unpaid student loans; prior bankruptcy; and evictions for nonpayment of rent. The Company believes that its customer profile is similar to that of its direct competitors.

Prior to its approval of the purchase of a Contract, the Company is provided with a standardized credit application completed by the consumer which contains information relating to the consumer’s background, employment, and credit history. The Company also obtains credit reports from Equifax, Experian and/or TransUnion, which are independent credit reporting services. The Company verifies the consumer’s employment history, income and residence. In most cases, consumers are interviewed via telephone by a Company application processor. The Company also considers the customer’s prior payment history with the Company, if any, as well as the collateral value of the vehicle being financed.

The Company has established internal buying guidelines to be used by its Branch Managers and internal underwriters when purchasing Contracts. Any Contract that does not meet these guidelines must be approved by the senior management of the Company. The Company currently has District Managers charged with managing the specific branches in a defined geographic area. In addition to a variety of administrative duties, the District Managers are responsible for monitoring their assigned branches’ compliance with the Company’s underwriting standards.

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