San Diego Business Journal

LA Firm Acquires Auto Lender CULA

By Sarah de Crescenzo Sunday, June 18, 2017
   

Credit Union Leasing of America, a San Diego-based company that facilitates indirect auto lending for credit unions, has been acquired by Los Angeles-based Westlake Financial Services.

Westlake, which originates indirect retail installment contracts through a nationwide network of car dealers, is one of seven companies that comprise the Los Angeles-based Hankey Group. The purchase of CULA increased Westlake’s assets from $4 billion to $5.5 billion, the company said.

“Along with its subsidiaries, Westlake Financial offers indirect financing, dealer floorplan financing, direct-to-consumer lending and insurance products. CULA‘s lease model complements Westlake’s offerings,” said Don Hankey, chairman of Westlake. “In addition, CULA’s current affiliations strengthen our growing relationships within the credit union industry.”

CULA CEO John Thomas will remain in that role. Westlake has appointed Ken Sopp, vice president of another Hankey Group subsidiary, as CULA’s chairman/managing general partner.

Terry Bowdler, who started CULA nearly 30 years ago, will become a strategic advisor. The acquired company will remain headquartered in San Diego.

“As I transition to an advisory role for CULA, I am confident that the company is in great hands with Westlake Financial,” Bowdler said. “The leadership team at Westlake has a deep comprehension of auto finance, a strong balance sheet and an entrepreneurial spirit that will enable CULA to autonomously continue growth for years to come.”