George Fussell Sr. Southern Auto Finance Co. (SAFCO)
The person who nominated George Fussell Sr. boasts a relationship with the Southern Auto Finance Co. (SAFCO) chief executive officer that dates back approximately 20 years.
“I consider him to be a leader, a mentor and a friend. He has been the driving force behind the growth and success of the company along with the successful careers of many of our team members,” the nomination said.
In 1973, Fussell became the youngest person in Florida to hold a retail dealer’s license. Then in 1990, he founded SAFCO to provide effective financing in support of the increasing prices of used vehicles. In 2004, SAFCO began offering indirect financing for dealers throughout Florida, Texas and Georgia. Today, the company serves 25 markets in 17 states.
Fussell approaches the subprime auto finance industry with the business philosophy that the finance company is here to help customers “have a better tomorrow,” while offering dealer partners the chance to service a sales bases previously unavailable.
“While guiding the company’s development to keep pace with the industry, he has never allowed us to lose sight of that core purpose,” the nomination said. “Through his guidance and entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Fussell has transitioned SAFCO from a traditional, manual-based finance company into a technological and data-driven organization.
“By employing the latest technology, he has enabled SAFCO to provide the same fast service as our large competitors. In hiring a talented and capable staff, Mr. Fussell has ensured that SAFCO’s initiatives are properly executed,” the individual went on to say.
Fussell is also a recognized leader in the dispensation of distressed portfolios through SAFCO’s Portfolio Services Division. He has worked with a number of major national and international financial institutions and private equity companies on foreclosure consulting, whole loan purchasing, workouts and more. Under his leadership, SAFCO has purchased and serviced portfolios in excess of a half billion dollars since 2002.
“SAFCO’s culture is entrepreneurial and progressive, a direct reflection of Mr. Fussell’s business philosophy,” the nomination said. “He has always strived to provide a productive environment that inspires team members to continually develop themselves as well as improvements to the company’s processes.
“Mr. Fussell through SAFCO has also had an impact on the industry,” the nomination went on to say. “Throughout the company’s history, Mr. Fussell has established operating standards and work practices that over time have been adopted as standard practice throughout the industry. For example, the knowledge he gained from the retail side of the industry of acceptable subprime collateral are now followed by numerous other finance companies. In addition, he has been asked to share his vast knowledge through mentoring other finance companies’ leadership or through speaking engagements.”