I am very pleased to announce that Open Lending recently welcomed Kenn Wardle to our executive leadership team as chief risk officer. His vast experience creates exciting opportunities for the Open Lending team. He is a real asset to where we are taking the company.
Kenn has spent more than 20 years in the financial services industry, most recently as chief operating officer at Horizon Digital Finance Holdings, Inc. His leadership experience within the lending industry includes portfolio and risk management, financial operations, research analytics, credit analysis, information technology, compliance and corporate reporting.
Kenn said he is equally excited to join us. “I have gotten to know the leadership team over the last year and a half. It seems like a great fit in looking at what they have accomplished and what I can bring to the team.” He explained that his experience in advanced analytics and adding more alternative data to the decisioning process will assist Open Lending in helping its clients ‘say yes to more loans.’
Kenn was intrigued by the opportunity, in part, based on the information Open Lending has and our exemplary historical performance over the years. “Many new alternative data sources have been introduced to the market recently,” he continued explaining in one of our many conversations, “and some of this data is showing pockets of opportunity to approve more nonprime applicants who would typically have been declined in the past.” That is exactly what Open Lending and our clients like to hear.
Kenn will be based in Open Lending’s Austin office, but he is looking to build the data analytics in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex area.
Kenn was initiated into the world of nonprime auto finance during a part-time, clerical job he took in college. After college he eventually started his professional nonprime auto finance career in the risk management team at a market-leading platform. In 2004, he co-founded Exeter Finance Corp. During his tenure at Exeter, the company grew from concept and four co-founders to originating $4.3 billion in auto finance loans and more than 1,000 employees.
Then in 2015, he founded and served as CEO of a business-to-business funding firm called Jet Business Loans before joining Open Lending, making Kenn perfect for us in the chief risk officer role.
Kenn enjoys the outdoors as an avid white water canoer and camper. He also likes camping in out-of-the-way places with his son, Connor, who is 17. In addition to Connor, Wardle has a 14-year old daughter named Ellie with his wife, Sara, who is a teacher at Keller ISD.
In 2018, Kenn was awarded the National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, and he serves on the Executive Board of the Longhorn Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Texas Wesleyan School of Business Advisory Council; The Woman’s Center of Tarrant County; and is an active member of Golden Triangle Rotary Club in Texas. His community involvement signaled to me that he is definitely a good fit for the Open Lending team.