AutoX Eyes Rapid Rise for Car Title Loans

Ms. Apiphan says AutoX is focused on serving underbanked customers.

AutoX Co Ltd, a new player in the automotive title loan market, aims to be among the top three in the sector with 70 billion baht of outstanding loans in three years.

The company last week launched a car title loan called Ngern Chaiyo, focused on underbanked customers, who largely turn to loan sharks for borrowing.

AutoX launched the loan service in July and saw positive loan growth.

The company expects to book a total of outstanding loans worth 10 billion baht with a customer base of about 80,000 by the end of this year, chief executive Apiphan Charoenanusorn said.

By 2025, the company aims to grow the loan portfolio to 70 billion baht, grow its customer base to over 1 million, and expand physical branches to 3,000 nationwide from 1,200 networks, said Ms Apiphan.

Within three years, AutoX expects to generate a net profit of 3 billion baht with a return on equity of more than 25%, ranking among the top three providers of auto title loans.

If it achieves that lofty goal, it would pave the way for AutoX to proceed with an IPO in 2027, she said.

Focusing on the underbanked segment, the Ngern Chaiyo loan is offered for three categories of vehicles – motorcycles, vans and agricultural vehicles – which represent 40%, 40% and 20% of the total loan portfolio respectively.

According to Bank of Thailand regulations for car title lending companies, the interest rate cap is 24% per annum, but the company charges a rate in line with the risk profile of the customer.

“The interest rate depends mainly on the condition of the vehicle, which is the loan security, and is below 24% for existing customers. The company has maintained good asset quality after providing loans for several months,” Ms Apiphan said.

Risks in the underbanked segment make the company mindful of strong risk management, she said.

The company provides a payment card to approved loan customers, allowing them to withdraw the loan at any ATM.

If a customer delays paying off their debt, the payment card is immediately blocked, Ms Apiphan said.

Despite the higher risk to the market segment, there are also great business opportunities, she said.

Serving this segment will give underbanked customers better access to loans at a reasonable interest rate, Ms. Apiphan said.

According to the central bank’s survey on household access to financial services in 2020, more than 55% of the population, or about 36 million people, do not have access to loans from financial institutions.

The economic downturn from the recent pandemic has also increased the burden on many people, she said.