By: Joey Pizzolato, Associate Editor of Auto Finance News

Byrider, a buy-here pay-here auto lender, has unveiled an incentive program for first responders, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, rescuers, military personnel and others, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through May 31, active first responders can receive between $500 and $750 off the purchase of a vehicle with proof of employment, according to the release.

“We hope to make it more attainable for first responders to secure the reliable transportation they need to get to their important jobs and safely return home to their families at the end of a long shift,” said Byrider Chief Executive Craig Peters.

The offer will be available at 31 company-owned Byrider locations as well as select franchise stores across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Byrider rolled out online credit applications through its risk scoring model last year, and intends to “continue to prioritize investments that allow customers, particularly those who are in essential services like health care, to perform as much or as little of the sales and financing process online as they would like,” Peters told Auto Finance News.

While the Carmel, Ind.-based lender has seen an expected reduction in finance contracts sent by its dealer partners since the start of the pandemic, the company is “surprised and encouraged by how small the drop in sales have been,” Peters said.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Byrider has made some “modest changes to tighten underwriting standards and will continue to monitor the environment and portfolio in order to inform future changes,” Peters said, noting that the company has been preparing for a change in the economic cycle for more than a year.

Byrider and its franchisees operate 150 locations in the U.S. across 31 states, with a managed portfolio of $1.37 billion as of March 30. Last year, originations clocked in at $657.5 million, according to figures provided to AFN.