(Bloomberg) -- Caribou Financial Inc. said Simon Goodall will take over as chief executive officer, effective immediately, with a goal of expanding the fintech’s presence in the auto-loan refinance market.

“It’s a pretty simple business and it’s just a huge opportunity,” Goodall, who most recently served as Groupon Inc.’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview. The new CEO replaces Kevin Bennett, who announced he would step down in August but is staying on the board.

Consumers may associate refinancing more with mortgages than with auto loans, but Goodall said that, as monthly car payments remain elevated, the market potential is “massive.” The average monthly new car payment in the second quarter topped $729, according to Experian Plc. Caribou can save borrowers an average of $115 a month, Goodall said. 

Caribou raised $115 million in funding in May 2022, putting the Washington, D.C-based company’s valuation at $1.1 billion at the time. The firm’s largest investors are Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and QED Investors LLC. 

The resumption of student-loan payments could also be an impetus for US consumers to consider refinancing an auto loan, according to Goodall, as lower car payments help manage cash flow to deal with the additional burden on their monthly budget. 

Goodall credits an early career experience as a car salesman in Elgin, Illinois, as one of the reasons he was drawn to the role at Caribou. 

“It’s so much about the monthly payment – ‘How can I afford this?’” Goodall said, recalling something he learned while selling Pontiacs, Mazdas and other cars. “It is a necessity, it is not a luxury product, for most Americans.”

--With assistance from Sridhar Natarajan.

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