Girouard reported Monday that Upstart facilitated the refinancing of more than 11,000 auto loans during the first quarter, almost double the amount it handled in 2021. It also more than doubled the rate at which refi applicants were approved.

He said the company has launched its first AI model for auto refinance, partially trained by Upstart’s own auto lending performance data. He described it as the start of the process for building out the model Upstart views as a primary competitive advantage.

Borrowers refinancing auto loans through Upstart as of Jan. 1 saved an average of $4,800 on the life of the loan, the company said.

Upstart, whose primary business right now is personal loans, doesn’t seek to be a lender itself. It makes money by funneling deals to lenders who trust the company’s AI to vet borrowers’ creditworthiness — and potentially help them scoop up customers whose risk was misunderstood by a traditional underwriting model. Girouard said 11 of the company’s 57 lender partners in the first quarter had no minimum FICO score requirement.

Upstart’s underwriting decisions often need no human involvement. The company’s automated approval rate across all loan applications increased to 74 percent during the first quarter, up from 71 percent a year earlier.