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Rich Zellner

April 29, 2024

Rich Zellner has been in the automobile industry for over 30 years, with over 20 years in automotive finance management. In 2006, Rich formed an automotive consulting company, Automotive Resource Group, to serve dealerships and companies in the automotive industry. This included such companies as J.D. Power, Universal Auction Group and Wells Fargo Dealer Service.

Rich also created a subprime lending program for Kawasaki in partnership with Westlake financial. Automotive Resource Group has evolved to focus on giving small to medium sized dealer groups access to the programs and pricing of the large public dealer groups, thereby leveling the playing field. Using the economies of scale, Rich has been able to offer his dealers lender incentives, vendor rebates, discounted rates, and increased service levels. As a result, ARG lender partners enjoy extremely profitable portfolios and vendor partners have significantly increased volume. His vision to give small to medium-sized dealer groups a competitive edge has shown remarkable success with clients ranging from single point dealerships to one of the top 10 dealer groups in the country.

From 1999 through 2006, Rich was a Senior Vice President at WFS Financial, and Wachovia after a merger. During his tenure, Rich was responsible for policies, procedures, and management of a sales and marketing group of over 170 associates, travel and incentive group, and dealer services group working with approximately 14,000 automobile dealerships across the country. In addition, Rich was responsible for overseeing the National Accounts Group which managed the relationships with the largest dealer groups and consolidators such as AutoNation, Penske, Sonic, Lithia, and more. Subsequently, Rich served as President of Cogent Financial Group, an auto finance and elective surgery medical finance company, offering consumer loans through auto dealers and medical practices. As President, he was responsible for all facets of the business including credit, operations, funding, collections, accounting, and legal.

In 1995, after 12 years in dealer management roles, he joined AutoFinance Group and quickly climbed the ladder becoming a key member of a company that was sold to KeyBank for ten times book value. As a member of the Key AutoFinance management team, Rich was considered one of the company’s sub-prime experts and traveled throughout the country lecturing bank management and dealer groups on auto finance.

In addition to a successful career in auto finance, Rich has demonstrated a deep commitment to public service and community engagement. Since 1997, he has served as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff, dedicating his time to ensuring public safety, Rich’s unwavering dedication to serving his community was further recognized when he was awarded the prestigious Silver President’s Volunteer Service Award by President George W. Bush, highlighting his exceptional contributions and selfless devotion to making a positive impact in the lives of others.

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