Westar Financial Services, an innovator in the automobile finance industry, is close to establishing a securitization facility with multiple asset-backed commercial paper conduits, in which the company will warehouse its auto leasing assets.

Later this year, Westar will close its first term deal outside of the traditional private market, worth between $150 million and $200 million. The company has been privately placing small auto lease-backed securitizations and portfolio sales with investors for several years, for approximately $600 million in combined volume.

Westar has seen substantial portfolio growth in the past two years, largely attributable to its online credit approval platform, which allows Westar to originate loans through third party channels.

The company last week promoted Cindy Kay to vice president, to focus exclusively on the firm's developing securitization programs. Kay had previously also served as the Westar's controller. Additionally, the company hired Kenneth Lamb as controller, assuming some of Kay's former duties.

"We're growing at about 300% a year," said R.W. Christensen, Jr., president and chief executive officer at Westar. "We need greater capacity than we would be able to have on our own. As we see the opportunities for leasing increasing so dramatically in the near future, we want to make sure that we have capacities to match that demand."

In what Westar describes as a private-label program, the company outsources its technology-based origination, called LASIRpro, to other institutions, including Amsouth Bank, Mellon Bank and USAA FSB. Westar receives fee income, and a portion, if not all, of the originated assets.

Further, Westar acquires leases directly from car dealerships in about 16 different states, according to the company's financial documents.

Last year, Westar was originating prime credit auto loans for First Union through an internet portal called Driveoff.com, which was purchased last September by Microsoft, and subsequently closed down in February of this year.

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