Every couple of months, Jennifer Oribello spends her spare time mining the docket of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit and Googling contact information for local bankruptcy attorneys.
She sends letters to gauge whether the credit-blemished folks on the docket or among the attorneys' clients would be interested in buying and financing a car at Cueter Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Ypsilanti, Mich., where she is special finance manager.
Only a few folks on the docket have come in after receiving letters. Oribello has reaped more success from contacting the bankruptcy attorneys, many of whom have referred their clients to her. The number of referrals she receives varies month to month: She could get seven or she could get zero. Still, "overall it brings in a few extra deals" per quarter, she said.
The prospective customers aren't worried they're being scammed, Oribello said. They "are more nervous about getting approved." She works with lenders willing to finance bankrupt consumers, such as Chrysler Capital, Santander Consumer USA, Consumer Portfolio Services and Tidewater Finance Co.
In the long run, having an auto loan will help those customers re-establish credit, and Oribello, a 2016 Automotive News 40 Under 40 retail honoree, gives them tips to help them improve.
"It's important that they are educated as well on how to repair their credit; it's helping them," said the 38-year-old Oribello. "I really like educating people, too, as far as their credit goes and how to help them get out of the situation that they're in and start rebuilding and re-establishing.