In a lender's dream world, loan applications, credit checks, and final approvals would flow from the customer, through the originator's operation and into an institutional portfolio with nary a ripple, a neat trick that Newcourt Credit Corp. seems to have achieved by using technology and modern communications to build a seamless money machine, sewn into the retailing fabric of its manufacturing customers.

Newcourt, a Toronto, Ontario-based nonbank lender that originated $5.8 billion (Canadian dollars) in loans last year, has designed and launched a fully automated system, tied directly into the retail operations of corporate customers like Dell Computers, Inc., and Yamaha Motors, Ltd. The system originates loans for new equipment directly at the point of sale and invisibly to the customer, according to Bradley Nullmeyer, evp of Newcourt's financial group. The result is intended to be very much like a supermarket vendor's tracking and servicing of its product shelf; Newcourt, which originates loan pools that are customized--and essentially pre-sold--for specific institutional investors, moves money from those investors to the fully stocked "shelves" of retailing outlets like Dell, which offers Newcourt financing for their computers as though it was Dell financing. Newcourt tracks and services the loans and keeps the retailers supplied with financing credit which, in the case of Dell, offers on-line loan application and approval. "We have a system that says to (our customer), you build your product, and we take it from there," says Nullmeyer. "When it's at the end of your line, we provide the financing to your dealer bodies to move the inventory out to the street, arrange to get it to your dealers by financing that, track that through our system, and report to them." This means that Newcourt is hooked right into Dell's order entry system; once a unit gets a bar code number, Newcourt has already approved the financing. "Our system downloads that information; the documents are printed, and that flows all the way to our billing and collections systems," he says. The system, designed with the help of Sybase Professional Services, a unit of the Burlington, MA-based software manufacturer, is a customized combination of systems, some developed in-house, some by Sybase. --reinbach tfn.com

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