Proposal Aims to Change Repossession Process

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A bill that experts say would speed up the process of reposessing vehicles in Wisconsin is pending in the state Senate.

It would make a day in court optional for people whose cars or trucks are being repossessed.

Right now dealers say along with missed car payments, you'd have to wait till a judge decided your vehicle could be repossessed.
Both dealers and bankers say this proposed change is a good idea.

"The reality is about 90 percent of the consumers do not show up in court to protest the repossession, so it can be a waste of our time and our dollars," said Mark Willer, Chief Operating Officer of Royal Credit Union.

"It costs us millions of dollars," Representitive Jean Hundertmark said. She authored the bill, which has already passed the assembly.
"It clogs up the court system and it clogs up law enforcement to have to deliver the court orders."

Lenders don't think interest rates would be affected if the proposal does get signed into law, but dealers see positives for the economy.
They think it would free up more credit for people who buy cars.

About six in 10 end up financing at the dealership.

Plus, they think more lenders would do business in Wisconsin, and fewer people would be trashing cars while they wait for their court dates.

"It makes it more expensive to recover the value of the vehicle," said Ken Vance Motors' General Sales Manager David Klinkhammer.

Lenders say they count on a small percentage of repossessions to indicate that their criteria for customers is up to snuff, though too many reposessions obviously is a sign that those criteria need to be toughened.

While Democrats say this plan is too big a leap away from a state law regulating debt collection, they admit, the concept is a good one.