Private investment firm J.C. Flowers & Co. announced on Tuesday that it has signed a definitive agreement to make a majority investment in iLendingDIRECT, a leading auto refinance marketing company.

While terms of the transaction were not disclosed, J.C. Flowers said in a news release that the agreement is expected to close during the first half of this year.

The announcement also indicated that iLending chief executive officer Nancy Fitzgerald and president and chief executive officer Tom Holgate will remain investors in the company.

After the closing of the transaction, Fitzgerald will sit on the board of directors and serve as a strategic consultant to the company, focused on sourcing strategic partnerships for the business. Meanwhile, Holgate will take over as acting CEO of iLending.

Founded in 2006 and based in Englewood, Colo., iLending is a national leader in automotive refinancing. Through strategic partnerships with credit unions, banks and other financial institutions nationwide, the company offers consumers lower interest rates on auto loans and other creative financing solutions.

The relationships can result in iLending saving consumers thousands of dollars in interest and payments while providing financing partners with high quality paper that meet their footprint and credit criteria.

By utilizing its proprietary software platform, iLending refinances auto loans and offers vehicle service contracts, GAP waivers and other vehicle protection products directly to customers.

The Better Business Bureau listed iLending as an A+ Rated Accredited Business, and the company has been honored as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Best Places to Work annually since 2016.

“J.C. Flowers is widely viewed as a global leader for investment in financial services companies. Their interest in iLending is a testament to our team and what they have been able to accomplish for our customers,” Fitzgerald said in the news release. “J.C. Flowers’ commitment will further strengthen our operations and product lines, making us the  premier choice in automotive refinancing.”

Holgate added, “Many of our customers have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. We are proud that we have been able to help them save some money in this time of financial stress.

“J.C. Flowers recognized the value iLending provides to its customers, which includes both lending partners and consumers. We look forward to working with their team now and long after the pandemic subsides,” Holgate went on to say.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges served as legal counsel to J.C. Flowers. Locke Lord served as legal counsel and Roth Capital acted as financial advisor to iLending.

“J.C. Flowers invests in niche financial services companies with strong potential. We were attracted to iLending by its strong growth, solid operational foundation, and its commitment and agility in meeting the needs of both consumers and lending partners under Nancy and Tom’s leadership,” J.C. Flowers managing director Tom Harding said.

“We expect demand for auto refinancing to remain strong as savvy consumers continue to look for ways to save money. We are excited to work with Nancy, Tom and the iLending team to grow the business to take advantage of the expected strong demand,” Harding continued.