The home improvement trend is making national headlines as more and more families adapt to spending time at home. In May 2020, Ally Lending, the personal lending arm of Ally Bank, partnered with BuyMax, and its parent company Authority Brands, to help some of these home projects come to fruition.
Authority Brands is the premier home service franchisor in North America, with eight brands and nearly 1,700 locations across the U.S. and Canada. BuyMax works with these franchise locations and independent contractors to provide best-in-class discounts, identify vendors & products, and negotiate pricing.
This partnership with Ally Lending makes it possible for these home service organizations to further aid their customers on their home improvement needs, whether they be emergency replacements or huge renovations. Together with BuyMax members, Ally Lending has provided a total of $4.4 million in consumer financing in three months—and that number continues to grow.
"Ally Lending is on a mission to give our service providers and consumers the best lending experience possible. We are building on our legacy strength in the healthcare market with this new expansion into home improvement, delivering lending products that work both for service providers' workflows and consumers' wallets,” said Hans Zandhuis, President of Ally Lending. “We empathize with the economic situation millions of Americans now face, and we're proud to offer budget-friendly, responsible financing options to allow consumers to feel more secure when working on the home repairs and upgrades they need."
Scott Rohrer, a franchise owner for One Hour Heating & Air Condition, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Mister Sparky Electric in Pennsylvania, has enjoyed working with Ally, as it focuses on simple and easy-to-understand financing for his customers. In Rohrer’s nearly 20 years in this business, he notes that customers are planning ahead less – and that means they often find themselves with big, unexpected price tags for must-have comforts, like air conditioning.
That’s when Ally’s benefits shine, according to Richie Drew, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning franchise owner in Myrtle Beach, SC. He says the positives of Ally include lesser finance buy-down fees than competitors, a simple, streamlined process, soft hit pre-approvals, and great customer service for him and his customers.
"Our collaboration with Ally Lending broadens our customer financing offerings, in turn making it possible for more homeowners to afford the improvements they need," said Bryan Wright, Vice President of Group Purchasing for Authority Brands, LLC and BuyMax. "Ally's dedication to its customers and commitment to innovation aligns with our own vision and culture – making this partnership a good fit for us."
As Chief Operating Officer for Authority Brands franchises Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, and Mister Sparky Electric, Mark Dawson see the biggest trend in the industry is the opportunity to use “smart home” technology – from locks to water heaters and everything in between.
“We’re seeing that financing is steady, but financing companies have stronger underwriting guidelines to follow, so approvals are down a little due to COVID-19. We have also noticed tighter credit restrictions and requirements from most banks,” said Dawson. This, however, is not affecting business for Ally Lending or BuyMax. “We are seeing projects that were ‘on hold’ now moving forward due to the increased time at home and availability of the homeowner.”